Manitoba Man Receives 5 Year Prison Sentence for Defending His Home

     Dakota Pratt, a 28 Year old Resident of the Birdtail Sioux First Nation Was Sentenced to 5 Years in a Manitoba Court today for defending his home after he woke up to what he described as “a feeling of being stabbed in the head”. There before him was a knife wielding intruder, described in the CBC article that originally covered this story as a man named Bunn, attempting to take his life.

     So, in an attempt to defend his life and his Dakota chased him into the hallway and begin struggling with his assailant in an effort to save his own life.  Pratt seized control of the attackers knife and stabbed Bunn 13 times. One of these stabs Pratt made landed in his attackers chest. He kicked his attacker several times afterwards. This is an understandable reaction if you wake up in the middle of the night and someone decides to try to kill you. It is definitely a story that makes sense, he had significant wounds to his scalp and received significant blood loss during the attack.

     If you break into someones house and get killed in the process, from a moral pespective the answer should be tough shit. Especially if you are using a knife to try to kill someone. The head holds some of the most vital organs in the human body and Dakota Pratts attacker could have without a doubt killed him.

     The Canadian standard for self defense is a joke. Until it isn’t funny. Canadian self defense law deems it illegal to do anything that is considered “beyond reasonable force”. to be exact, the law says:

34. (1) Every one who is unlawfully assaulted without having provoked the assault is justified in repelling force by force if the force he uses is not intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm and is no more than is necessary to enable him to defend himself. 

     Of course, there are times where sometimes killing the other person is sadly the only reasonable option to defend ones own life. The Canadian Criminal Code makes an exception for these circumstances:

(2) Every one who is unlawfully assaulted and who causes death or grievous bodily harm in repelling the assault is justified if
(a) he causes it under reasonable apprehension of death or grievous bodily harm from the violence with which the assault was originally made or with which the assailant pursues his purposes; and
(b) he believes, on reasonable grounds, that he cannot otherwise preserve himself from death or grievous bodily harm.

    Once someone begins going for your head and attacking you with a knife, it is beyond reasonable to think they are trying to kill you. They certainly aren’t trying to give you a hug. When two people are struggling over a knife, it can go either way if it falls into the wrong hands. Under Canadian law, it is certainly reasonable to assume that Dakota Pratt was in the right from the laws written for self defense. What kind of a country are we living in when saving your own life can get you 5 years in prison? That wasn’t enough for the crown prosecutors, oh no.

          They recommended a sentence of 8 years in prison. To put that in perspective, for Dakota Pratt’s actions in defense of his life which to any sane human being he had the complete legal right to do, the court recommended he spend  2920 days of his life, 70080 hours of his life in hours, or 4,204,800 minutes of his life in minutes behind bars, away from his family around dangerous felons, for a few minutes of his life where he stopped a man who wanted to ensure he had no minutes left on his life to spend.

         You would think, clearly this man must be some big time drug dealer. He must have had a significant criminal history for the courts to have given him such a hard time. In actuality he didn’t. He only had one blemish on his record which was an assault. Not assault with a deadly weapon, not sexual assault, just assault. An unfortunate human mistake in this mans past many people of all backgrounds make the mistake of doing. Something far behind him.

      This is what the courts definition of justice is turning into in our country. A man that had someone try to kill him can now not survive the incident without serving five years in prison, despite the fact he had every legal right to defend himself. The courts clearly broke the law in sentencing this man, and violated his right to security of the person under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There is nothing about the courts actions that were just, or moral, or in the interests of the him, the citizen or Canada. It was nothing short of an act of government tyranny.

      It is time for Canadians to ask themselves, for cases of self defense, how are the courts reasonable force on reasonable people? Who is really the criminal in this situation, the citizen defending himself, or whoever sentenced him? I’ll let you decide.

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