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Home Defense in Canada… How Far Can You Go (Legally)?

“Can’t even defend yourself in Canada”… that’s what some ‘Muricans think, apparently (and some Canadians too). What does the law say? What has happened in actual cases of home invasion, when a defender stabbed or shot an invader? Let’s talk about it! You’ll also hear my opinion on what I consider “reasonable” force, and what may be taking it a little too far, beyond mere self-defense. Might be worth considering before you rush to decapitate someone with a sword for trying to steal your microwave. 🙂 *** Sources *** *** Music credits *** Outro: “Highland Storm” by The Slanted Room Records Used with artist’s permission *** Merch *** If you want to join Bonfire to start selling your own merch: *** Support the channel *** Help fund future videos, get bonus content and access to an exclusive Discord server: Other ways to support the channel by shopping through affiliate links: Kult of Athena, my favorite online store for reproductions of historical arms and armor, fantasy swords, etc:
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Discipulus Aeternus says:

In Germany you are not allowed to commit a larger crime to prevent a lower. So if you attack your home invader and it is declared that you had the opportunity to lock yourself in to ensure your safety and call the cops you face charges. If you clame self defence in this case, you have to provide evidence that you A) got attacked first and B) used the least means to stop the attacker. Are you lacking sufficient evidence you face charges which get worse if you are a matial arts practitioner. That is so because in Germany your hands and feet as a martial artist count as weapons, so you can face charges for assault with a weapon even if you were just punching and kicking.

NPC 2749 says:

I hate thieves so much. Who doesn't hate them with every fiber of your being?
To me if you don't hate thieves (intensely) YOU are a bad person.

Le Trepidant says:

Runkle of the Bailey does some great breakdowns of Canadian law regarding firearms, self defense and other subject.

Great video, Skal.

In Argentina it's free fire for all criminals. You'll get 14 to 20 in the slammer for defending yourself and disposing of society's scourge.


NightWarp says:

the case at 4min in… the story is much bigger… charges for filed and lasted years before being dropped. It cost the home owner tens of thousands in layer fees to be free. The Canadian layer, Runkle of the Baily has a great video on it and many others about self defence and firearms in Canada.

Scott Mcmaster says:

Skallagrim how about doing a team up video with an actual Canadian lawyer who could discuss this with you. It sounds like an interesting video to me. You two could discuss the current laws related to self-defense and its limits in Canada under law. You could also discuss what sort of self-defense weapons are legally permitted and which require licensing or registry with the government to legally own. Also of interest would be which may be carried in public or transported outside the home without legal consequence. It fits the theme of historical weaponry and martial skills brought into a modern time frame for comparison to history. A follow up video could be discussions with historians regarding such matters during various historical periods. i would enjoy such an educational series.

Life of Dave says:

In my country, if i slap the burglar with a open hand. Im sued for assault. Thank god the crime rate is low.

MycoSC says:

Lawyer and long time fan here, thought I’d drop my two cents on this. A disclaimer, that I am not specialized on criminal law and have only done some very minor criminal defense cases, so I will not be commenting on what situation will be the legal threshold for self defence, as that topic probably deserves a video series on its own and probably beyond my experience.

What I want to point out is the fact that a lot of the examples skall used arises out of cases where no charges are laid.

What I want to point out is while our law is build on precedence, when no charge is pressed, that does not create a precedence that the court is required to follow.

Whether charge is placed is based on the decision of crown prosecutor, working with the local police. While a crown prosecutor presumably has a good idea as to whether self-defense is applicable to the case, there may be other factors that affects whether charges will be laid, such as public interest, availability of evidence, seriousness of the issue, etc. As a result, no charge being laid in a situation doesn’t equal that “it is okay” to do what happened in that situation. The same goes when charges is dropped, it is entirely up to the prosecutor.

I’d recommend, if a follow up video is done, that skall looks at actual case decision and judge’s reasoning on what they think is “reasonable” force. A good free site to look up past cases and decision would be Canlli.

Null_IG22 says:

The real question is, knee or stomach/chest/Amy soft spot.

Make them suffer life? Or grant them a swift and preventative mercy?

Steve Warris says:

game theory says use maximum available force until threat stops moving, is out of sight, or surrenders and is taken by the cops. even if they "flee" you don´t know if it´s just a "tactical regroup" and come back 10min later better prepared or even more violent. better trialed by 12 then carried by 6. however i get the point of the video and the cases.

Colin Papendick says:

This is why you should get a lawyer and not talk to police EVEN IF YOU THINK YOU'RE NOT GUILTY. The difference between "I shot him" and "I was afraid for my life, so I shot him" could be prison time vs. freedom.

John Smith says:

It varies greatly in the US, but in my state, you forfeit your right to life by breaking into a home.

It is incumbent open the defender to assume that a burglar has nefarious intent, evident by his deeds, and is prepared to cause bodily harm to a defender that has already retreated to their domicile, justifying that lethal force be used against him.

Interestingly, you forfeit your right to defense if you are using the property to facilitate a felony, so if you have a drug lab and kill an intruder in self defense, that's now felony murder.
And yes, that has happened.

TheMasonator777 says:

One thing I know. If you don’t go far enough, you won’t survive. Under the stress of a home invasion you are very likely to over-react or under-react. People can empty a magazine and not know. I will say that the law is less important than the ideological interpretation of it. In this country right now, the federal government has an ideological worldview that is more sympathetic to the criminal than the homeowner. The problem is that the vagueness of the law, which as you rightly assumed, is intentional.
Vague laws are designed to create or at least allow injustice by way of capricious interpretation. If you don’t know what the law really is, you can’t easily follow it. When under deadly threat, it’s impossible to control your reaction without deep training, and even then your instincts take over. We have unjust self defence law in this country. Period.
We have the right to life and the security of the person. It should be expanded to security of the home as castle, the last line of defence.

The Immortuary says:

Why are you so defensive? I say this because I live in Halifax and I passed you on the street the other day. You walk pass my home regularly on your walking route and I was trying to be friendly and say hi but you went total Sigma, walked on and ignored me. Thats cool, you do you, you were probably just in your own world.

I mean, I could have offered you a ride, and I would just assume you are carrying a blade lol.

Anyways dude, I am looking to pivot my life and start a youtube career, and if there is any chance I could pick your brain for some advice some day, theres a Coffee and donut in it for you.

Colonel Dinggus says:

I’ve heard horror stories of ridiculous court cases being held in Canada regarding home defense. One family tried to sue a homeowner because their son accidentally fell into and drowned in the homeowners backyard pool while he was trying to break into their house

HeartlessKnave says:

If people started attacking Liberal MP's and breaking into their homes with exceeding regularity then you can bet the laws would change really quick.
Of course they would likely have police there in less than a minute than argue "see the system works", because they have no understanding what the real world and actual police response time (if they do at all) is like.

Mikko Lindström says:

"I'm not going to try to give you advice. I WILL give you advice."

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