Ian Thomson moved to a rural homestead in Southwestern Ontario to lead a quiet life investing in a little fixer-upper. Then his neighs chickens began showing up on his property. He warned his neighbor, then killed one of the birds.
The incident began six years of trouble for Mr. Thomson that culminated early one Sunday morning last August when the 53-year-old former mobile-crane operator woke up to the sound of three masked men firebombing his Port Colborne, Ont., home.
“I was horrified,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what was happening. I had no idea what was going on.”
So Mr. Thomson, a former firearms instructor, grabbed one of his Smith & Wesson revolvers from his safe, loaded it and headed outside dressed in only his underwear.
“He exited his house and fired his revolver two, maybe three times, we’re not sure. Then these firebombing culprits, they ran off,” said his lawyer, Edward Burlew.
His surveillance cameras caught the attackers lobbing at least six Molotov cocktails at his house and bombing his doghouse, singeing one of his Siberian Huskies. But when Mr. Thomson handed the video footage to Niagara Regional Police, he found himself charged with careless use of a firearm.
The local Crown attorney’s office later laid a charge of pointing a firearm, along with two counts of careless storage of a firearm. The Crown has recommended Mr. Thomson go to jail, his lawyer said.
His collection of seven guns, five pistols and two rifles was seized, along with his firearms license. Mr. Thomson said he lives in fear that his attackers will return and has taken to arming himself with a fire extinguisher.
“I don’t have enemies,” said the soft-spoken man, who now studies environmental geosciences full-time at Brock University after being injured in a workplace accident. “I don’t know that many people. I’m a quiet man. I just want to go back to my life and be able to live out my days in relative peace.”
Mr. Thomson’s is the latest in a series of high-profile cases in which people have been charged after defending their homes and businesses against criminals. Central Alberta farmer Brian Knight became a local hero after shooting a thief who was trying to steal his ATV. He pleaded guilty to criminal negligence earlier this month. In October, Toronto shopkeeper David Chen was acquitted of forcible confinement charges after he tied up a repeat shoplifter and demanded he stop raiding his grocery store.
Their cases are renewing calls for Canada to introduce a version of the “Castle Doctrine” found in many U.S. states, which allows citizens to defend their property with force.
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