What a bizarre end to a case that everyone, me included, expected would tell us just how far the government thinks we are allowed to go in protecting ourselves, our homes, our families and our neighbours.
I had a long talk with Laurie Manzer yesterday afternoon, once he returned home from court. While he is greatly disappointed that the case did not give us a clearer idea of what the government considers reasonable when protecting ourselves and our neighbours, he is also greatly relieved that the huge weight hanging over his head for the past year is finally gone.
(news video from Burton TV below)
Because Crown Prosecutor Paul Hawkins chose to charge Lawrence Manzer as a summary offence, keeping a jury out of the picture, there were certain rules and timelines in place. Adding to the complication was the fact that Hawkins dropped the initial charge against Manzer, then 7 months or so after the "incident" decided to re-charge him with a separate offense.
A summary charge must be placed within 6 months. In Manzer's case, that didn't happen on the second charge. Judge Andrew LeMesurier ruled that since there was no agreement by Mr. Manzer to allow the time extension, his Charter Rights had been violated and he declared a mistrial.
"I declare a mistrial," LeMesurier said as Manzer's supporters clapped and cheered loudly. "Mr. Manzer, you are free to go."
Reaction to that announcement was swift as the supporters inside the courtroom cheered. That's hardly a surprise, since practically nobody in New Brunswick felt Lawrence Manzer should have been charged in the first place.
Reaction to Shawn Berry's writeup of the events in The Daily Gleaner were also very positive of Manzer and his actions.
I agree with those in this story who said they would have liked to see this trial come to an end with a clear definition of how a homeowner is allowed to protect his home and family. But I also agree that Mr. Manzer needed this break (the technicality) because there are just too many liberal-leaning judges who do not like guns at all and would have somehow construed the law to mean what they want. -- C. Johnson, Moncton
I myself would have liked to see how the whole thing turned out, but I think that maybe the law stepped a bit out of it's bounds and went a little overboard in this case deliberately having the trial set for a year later knowing it would be thrown out, keeping it under raps, only certain people knew and in the meantime Mr. Manzer had the sleepless nights wondering what would happen if found guilty. -- citytec F'ton, fredericton
There is no question that Prosecution, law enforcement and most certainly the judge did not want to decide this man's fate. This case grabbed a lot of attention Nationwide and I'm pretty sure that law makers were not ready for this. So, Mr. Manzer's mission is still unanswered. What is a property owners rights? Are we allowed to defend ourselves?
There will also be a lot of "Red Tape" before Mr. Manzer can get his firearms back. Suggestion, wait thirty days before approaching proper channels in getting them back.
I'd like to thank Manzer for opening up a lot of eyes in this country. Thanks for getting the ball rolling... -- Richard McGivney, Fredericton
All the money wasted hunting this man because he walked his private property down the road one night. Nothing better than an activist leftist justice system vendetta and they could not even get the paper work right. No wonder we live in a Hug-a-Thug society. Whoever mucked up the paperwork should be charged the full cost of the trial. -- W S, Oromocto
In the end, nothing was resolved. Lawrence Manzer goes home, will get his firearms back, and life will go on. It will take some other poor Canadian going through the wringer before we get an answer to the question this judge wasn't interested in rendering.