Citizen's Arrest Related to Property Crimes
Before the Act came into force, a citizen's arrest could only be made when a person was found in the act of committing a criminal offence. Now, for crimes committed on or in relation to one's property, a citizen's arrest can be made within a reasonable period of time after a person is found committing a criminal offence. This power of arrest is only authorized when there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is not feasible in the circumstances for the arrest to be made by a police officer.
The law requires that when a citizen's arrest is made, the arrested individual must be delivered to a police officer without delay. If a person making a citizen's arrest does not call the police as soon as possible, the arrest might be ruled illegal, and there could be civil or criminal consequences for the person making the arrest.
Reasonable Use of Force
The use of force is authorized in a citizen's arrest, but there are limits placed on how much force can be used. In essence, the laws permit the reasonable use of force, taking into account all the circumstances of the particular case. A person is not entitled to use excessive force in a citizen's arrest.
A citizen's arrest is a very serious and potentially dangerous undertaking. Unlike a police officer, a private citizen is neither tasked with the duty to preserve and maintain public peace, nor properly trained to apprehend suspected criminals. In most cases, an arrest consists of either actually seizing or touching a person's body in an effort to detain them. Whenever possible, a person should report wrongdoing to the police instead of taking action on their own.
More information on making a citizen's arrest is available here: What You Need to Know about Making a Citizen's Arrest
The self-defence provision of the Criminal Code permits a person to take reasonable action to protect themselves or others without being guilty of an offence.
Under the new law, a person is not guilty of an offence provided that they have a reasonable belief that either they or another person is being threatened with force and that the actions taken are for the purpose of defending against that force. The actions, which can include the use of force, must also be considered reasonable under the circumstances.
In deciding whether the action is reasonable, the court takes into consideration the relevant circumstances of the situation. The law includes a non-exhaustive list of factors that help courts to determine whether the accused person's actions were reasonable in the circumstances. These factors are not the only ones that courts consider when determining whether actions taken were reasonable, but are ones that have been previously well-established as being relevant to a self-defence claim.
Some examples of the factors listed in the law include the nature of the threat, how the person responded and whether it was proportionate to the threat or attack, how imminent the threat was and whether there were other ways in which the person might have been able to respond, whether there was a weapon involved, the size, age, gender and physical capabilities of the people involved, and the relationship between the people involved, including if there were previous threats of force.
In the case of self-defence claims against police actions such as an arrest, self-defence only applies if the person claiming it had reasonable grounds to believe that the law enforcement officer was acting unlawfully.
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