A northern Alberta man who shot an intruder who was trying to steal his ATV was acquitted of multiple charges on Friday.
Eugene Dalton, 62, was acquitted of several firearms offences on Friday. The charges stemming from an incident where he was awoken by loud noises in the early morning of July 6, 2014.
Dalton grabbed a shotgun and stepped outside of his Chard home when a man drove an ATV towards him. Dalton testified he feared for his safety and fired the shotgun in the air “just to scare him away so he would take off and leave”. However the man, identified as Philip Janvier, was wounded in the upper left arm.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Dawn Pentelechuk said that Dalton’s actions had “tragic consequences”, but they were unintentional. “Recklessness cannot substitute for intention,” she said. “I cannot establish intent beyond a reasonable doubt.”
She accepted his testimony that he was in fear for his safety. She also ruled that he had acted in self defense determined that the quad, which belonged to Dalton, was being used as a weapon.
“I’m sorry for what happened,” said Dalton. “I didn’t mean for anything to happen to Philip Janvier.”
According to an agreed statement of facts, Janvier had gone to Dalton’s acreage with the intent to steal the quad.
Dalton was found not guilty of aggravated assault, discharging a firearm with intent to harm, and careless and unlawful use of a firearm. He was, however, given a six-month conditional discharge after he pleaded guilty to possession of a shotgun without a license. He was also given 50 hours of mandatory community service.
Chard is about 110 kilometers south of Fort McMurray.