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Okotoks rancher reflects on court case after charges against him are dropped

Click to play video 'Okotoks rancher reflects on his court case a week after charges were dropped' Okotoks rancher reflects on his court case a week after charges were dropped
WATCH: Edouard Maurice, an Okotoks-area rancher, and defence lawyer Tonii Roulston join Global Calgary to reflect on Maurice's court case and the implications it has on the discussion of rural crime in Canada – Jun 30, 2018

People who live in Alberta’s cities should understand that rural property owners are the first line of defence in more than just criminal scenarios, according to an Okotoks-area man who had his charges dropped in a recent shooting court case.

“We are isolated out there,” said Edouard Maurice, who was facing charges related to a shooting incident on his property. Last week the crown withdrew the charges against him.

“It’s not only the response time of RCMP, but if you have a fire on your property, the response time is still the same.”

READ MORE: Applause in courtroom as charges dropped against Okotoks property owner in rural shooting

In late February, Maurice confronted two alleged thieves on his property. A shot was fired and one of the trespassers was injured, leading to the charges, which the crown eventually withdrew after receiving additional information.

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During an appearance Saturday on Global News Morning, Maurice said it still hasn’t quite sunk in that he no longer has to deal with his case in court. He added that his family still has to contend with stress related “with the aftermath” of the situation.

“Now that it’s over, we can continue on with our lives,” Maurice said.

“The support that we’ve had through the four months, through the community and all the supporters, it’s really helped us out.”

READ MORE: Alberta crime watch group says it never encourages vigilante justice

Tonii Roulston, Maurice’s lawyer, said she hopes the court begins to take a “liberal view with respect to self-defence, defence of property [and] defence of person” in light of Maurice’s situation. She added that every self-defence case is “facts specific.”

“The individual is in a difficult position, because they don’t know the law, they’re going to read the code and then try to interpret it and they’re not lawyers,” Roulston said on Global News Morning.

“In my view, people have a right to protect their property and they have a right to protect their family.”

Now that his court case is behind him, Maurice said he and his family are planning a vacation.

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