Virtual creatures, it seems, are no great respecters of real-world property lines.
And the federal penitentiary system, which turns out not to be completely without a sense of humour, wants Pokemon Go players to stay off the grounds of federal prisons:
(Which penitentiaries found themselves swarming with imaginary creatures and the real people chasing them? Correctional Service of Canada spokesperson Esther Mailhot would only say they were in the Prairies and Quebec.)
“Playing a video game is not a defence to trespass,” explained Toronto lawyer Doug Richardson.
Trespassing at night at a house, however, can be an actual crime, though if your motives were more silly than sinister a Crown prosecutor may not bother to pursue charges, Richardson says.
One Vancouver man is fighting back against all the players showing up in his garden trying to catch Pokemon. Now his sign is getting international attention. Tanya Beja reports.
“If it’s daytime, and you’re not fearful for your safety, then you should ask them to leave,” Richardson said. “If they don’t leave, then it’s clearly a trespass, and you should call police at that point.”
However, trespassing always carries the potential for confused violence.
“There’s always a worry, when you trespass, that the property owner might misunderstand your intentions there, and the player’s safety, and the property owner’s, may be in jeopardy at that point.”
“Will an owner overreact, or misunderstand what this person’s purpose is?”
The law does allow for a moderate use of force, if there seems to be no other way of getting rid of a trespasser, but if things get to that level you’re better off calling the police, Richardson said.
“If you were to take it into your own hands to physically remove someone, which in law you can be entitled to do, I would worry about that escalating.”