It appears the United Conservative Party is listening in regards to rural crime.
Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer introduced on Nov. 6 measures to fight rural crime such as increasing protection coverage in areas and upping penalties for those trespassing on property or other crimes.
Of course, the announcement that garnered the most attention in these parts was rural property owners could not be sued for reasonable actions they take to protect their homes from criminals.
It would mean Ryan Randy Watson’s lawsuit against Eddie Maurice wouldn’t be allowed.
Back in February 2018, Maurice shot a warning shot with a .22 calibre rifle in the dark early morning, which ricocheted and hit Watson in the wrist — who happened to be rummaging through the Maurices’ vehicles just prior.
Watson is suing Maurice for $100,000. It’s not a coincidence Schweitzer’s proposal is retroactive to the Jan. 1, 2018 — meaning it may get the baffling Watson lawsuit off the books.
Key to this proposed legislation — it has not been passed nor has it faced any legal challenges — is the property owner cannot be found guilty of any wrongdoing in his or her actions.
This will hopefully prevent an incident in which a person who may have had a car breakdown or is asking for direction, being injured by a rural homeowner.
The property owner must take reasonable action – they aren’t protected from taking undue action.
All charges against Maurice — who was alone with a near infant daughter — were dropped, so if the legislation goes through, bye-bye lawsuit…except for maybe the counterclaim Maurice has filed against Watson.
The announcement on Nov. 6 isn’t about to start a rampage of vigilantism in the Foothills – these are reasonable, responsible people.
But it is an indication rural property owners are being heard.