Canada: Manitoba man jailed after judge says 'justified' self-defence went too far, killing home intruder - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaManitoba man jailed after judge says 'justified' self-defence went too far, killing home intruder

14:56  07 june  2019
14:56  07 june  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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Manitoba man jailed after judge says 'justified' self-defence went too far, killing home intruder© Riley Laychuk/CBC Dakota Pratt, 28, was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday for the death of Vincent Bunn. Pratt had been charged with second-degree murder, but was found guilty of manslaughter by a jury in April.

A Manitoba judge says a man was justified in trying to defend himself from a late-night intruder, but sentenced him to jail time for killing the intruder when he took that defence too far.

Dakota Pratt, 28, was sentenced on Thursday to five years in prison, after a jury at Brandon's Court of Queen's Bench found him guilty in April of manslaughter in the attack that killed Vincent Bunn.

Court heard Bunn, 21, entered Pratt's home on the Birdtail Sioux First Nation, about 115 kilometres northwest of Brandon, Man., in the early morning of Sept. 2, 2016.

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Gordon said he then went out of the house to the injured man and added: ‘I just tried to reassure him. The case has been compared to that of Tony Martin, who was jailed for killing an intruder at his home in 1999. By all accounts given by his neighbors, Brooks is a good and friendly man .

Self - defence is a legal doctrine which says that a person may use reasonable force in the defence of one's self or another. This defence arises both from common law and the Criminal Law Act 1967.

Pratt, who was asleep in a basement bedroom, awoke to a "feeling of being stabbed" in the head, court heard. He got up and found a knife-wielding intruder in his room and — not knowing who the person was — chased him into the hallway.

"Mr. Pratt was the victim of an unprovoked assault … and knew he was in a struggle for his own life," Court of Queen's Bench Justice Robert Cummings said in his sentencing decision.

This is not waking up to someone yelling at you. Someone's cutting his head open … that's somebody who is showing from the beginning how serious they are."​​​​​​ - Defence lawyer Matt Gould

A struggle ensued and continued through the home's main floor and then outside to the deck, where Bunn was stabbed with his own knife 13 times, according to the agreed upon facts read out by Cummings at Pratt's sentencing hearing.

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Court was told the final stab, to Bunn's heart, was the fatal one, and that he was kicked a number of times afterwards.

It's unknown when exactly Pratt got Bunn's knife during the struggle. However, Pratt suffered significant blood loss and wounds to his scalp sometime during the incident.

"He was justified in taking defensive action, but the jury has concluded that his taking the knife of Mr. Bunn and stabbing him multiple times went beyond what was necessary for self-defence," Cummings said.

Pratt's defence lawyer, Matt Gould, asked for a three-year sentence. The Crown recommended a sentence of eight years.

With time served, Pratt will spend about 2½ more years in jail.

"I was hoping for him to go home," Gould told told CBC News. With a three-year sentence, "he would have been very very close to going home. I thought it was a very understandable argument,  a very clear case ... of self-defence," Gould said.

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What is “ self - defence ” under NSW law? NSW law allows people to use force to defend If that’s the case, self - defence is not available if the person used excessive force against an intruder , or A man stabbed his brother once to the chest after the brother threatened violence against family members.

Dunn said in these cases, the defence has to demonstrate that there was an “air of reality” (a criminal standard) to the fact that the accused felt self - defence That means it’s very unlikely that you could justify killing someone to protect your car, though you could possibly justify firing off a warning shot.

"This is not waking up to someone yelling at you. Someone's cutting his head open … that's somebody who is showing from the beginning how serious they are."

'Bad feelings' and jealousy: Crown

Pratt was originally charged with manslaughter in Bunn's death. A second-degree murder charge was laid following a preliminary hearing, with the Crown rejecting the self-defence argument.

At trial, the Crown told the jury there had been "bad feelings" between the two men — both of whom lived on Birdtail Sioux First Nation at the time — and jealously surrounding a relationship. Both had been drinking prior to the attack, but at separate locations on the reserve.

The Crown asserted that Bunn was welcome in the house where the attack occurred, based on testimony by Pratt's mother-in-law, who owned the home.

"That may be, but the impression that was left with me was that he was welcome for supper, or to visit, not to live in the house," Cummings said.

"It was Mr. Pratt who had the legal right to sleep in his … house. Mr. Bunn arrived in the dead of night, armed with a knife," the judge added. "I am unsure why the Crown had such difficulty acknowledging these facts."

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Bible says , self - defense is NOT murder. In Esther, Naman convinces the King to issue a decree for After you kill someone you might as well call yourself a criminal too because you did the same thing If you kill someone its still murder even if its out of self - defence its still murder if the judge lets you

The only witness to the fight was Pratt, court was told.

He initially denied to police on numerous occasions that a knife was used in the attack, which Cummings called a "concerted effort" to lie about what happened on the deck.

"The Crown stated that this was clearly false, but that other parts of his statement should be accepted as true because they were against Mr. Pratt's interest," said Cummings. "I do not follow the logic of this argument."

'Beyond what was necessary'

Court was told a considerable amount of Pratt's blood was found in his bedroom following the attack, partially corroborating his version of events in that he was acting in self-defence.

"Logic suggests that when there is an intruder in the house that it would make good sense to ascertain the identity of the intruder and ensure that he be expelled from the house," Cummings said in his decision.

"There is no reliable evidence to determine when Mr. Pratt had possession of the knife [but] it is certain… that he did become the aggressor and go beyond what was necessary to defend himself," he added.

That's our brother. His life is gone now because of Dakota. - Alisha Benn, Vincent Bunn's sister

Cummings said while some of the violence can be explained by the sudden nature of Bunn's initial attack on Pratt, the repeated stabbing and kicking took it too far.

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In an unusual (and angering) story, an Indiana man was sentenced to jail on a count of “criminal recklessness resulting in serious bodily injury” when he “This happened in a matter of seconds,” she said . “My client told him to freeze. … He didn’t shoot to kill . You have to stop somewhere,” she said .

Welch said self - defence was governed by common law, and However, he advised not to confront intruders , but to rather lock the family up in a room and call the police and security company. It cannot be left lying around. If you are going to own a firearm be prepared to practise and to use it if

Court was told Pratt suffered various traumas over his life, including sexual and physical abuse, as well as issues with substance abuse, but showed remorse for the killing. His only prior conviction was for an assault.

"He understood that at the end of the day, somebody died and he was responsible for that, and this really came down to why," Gould said.

Pratt has been in custody since the attack, at times in segregation for his own safety after being bullied by other inmates, court was told.

Family glad trial is over

Outside court, Bunn's siblings said they're glad the trial and sentencing are finally over.

"It was very hurtful," his sister Tiffany Bunn said of the 10-day trial. "It was hard.… It was tough."

"That's our brother. His life is gone now because of Dakota," said Alisha Benn, another of Vincent's sisters. "I felt like the judge was giving our family a fairly hard time in sentencing and at the trial and everything."

They remember their brother as a funny, caring man.

"He was a happy person," said Benn. "He was very funny.… A great guy."

"He was always outgoing," said Bunn's brother, Nicholas Benn.

"He could always bring a smile to your face. Here in court, they just showed his bad side, of the choices he made, [his] mistakes. But through all of that he was a really good guy."

The siblings said they are satisfied their brother's killer will spend more time behind bars.

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