The proper use of a “weapon dangerous” charge

The proper use of a “weapon dangerous to public peace” charge was reported in the Chronicle-Herald newspaper the other day.

Allen Estabrooks sexually assaulted a woman at the bar, then fired his loaded shotgun at one or more people outside a bar in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The man fled the scene.  Even stupid people have the fight-or-flight instinct, apparently.

Police were called to the bar after the shotgun blast, and followed the suspect to his home.

Estabrooks now faces multiple charges, including sexual assault (1 charge), criminal harassment (2 charges) and nine firearms offenses, including discharging a firearm, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace and unsafe storage of a firearm.

Now this is the proper use of those charges.  Some jerk decides to take a loaded firearm out for an evening’s stroll, assaults people and generally makes an ass of himself.

This absolutely is the correct use of the “weapon dangerous” charge.

Very unlike its application just one province over, in Burton New Brunswick, where Lawrence Manzer has been charged withweapon dangerous to the public peace” for doing what the RCMP seemingly refused to do: keep the public peace.

Instead of commending Mr. Manzer and his neighbours for apprehending the teenage offenders who were breaking and entering and generally stealing anything not nailed down in the area for over six months, police slap a $175 fine on the thieves, and charge one neighbour, Brian Fox, with assault and Lawrence Manzer with firearms charges.

New Brunswick RCMP and Crown Counsel have it completely ass backwards.  Maybe they should take some pointers from their counterparts in Nova Scotia.

At least there they seem to be able to charge the actual perpetrator of the crime, and not the victim.

It’s long past time for New Brunswick Crown prosecutors to do the right thing and drop all charges against Lawrence Manzer. And then offer him a public apology for their abuse of process.

Will that happen?  I won’t be holding my breath.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

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