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Citizen’s Arrest! Canadians Get New Powers to Stop Crime

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(Via petercastleton/Flickr)

A run-in between storeowner David Chen and a shoplifter has inspired the creation of Canada’s Citizen’s Arrest and Self-Defence Act.

Chen, the owner of the Lucky Moose Food Mart in Toronto’s Chinatown, was arrested in 2009 after he attempted to perform a citizen’s arrest of a well-known serial shoplifter.

The incident earned Chen charges for assault and forcible confinement. While he was later acquitted, public outcry over the case encouraged the government to reassess the Criminal Code and institute Bill C-26.

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Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Rob Nicholson said in a statement:

Canadians want to know that they are able to protect themselves against criminal acts and that the justice system is behind them, not against them. Those who have been the victim of a crime should not be re-victimized by the criminal justice system.

Known as the “Lucky Moose Bill”, Bill C-26 expands Canadians’ existing power to make a citizen’s arrest by allowing a person to arrest someone within a reasonable amount of time after having found them committing a crime.

Previously, the law stated that anyone attempting a citizen’s arrest needed to capture the criminal red-handed at the moment the crime was being committed. With the introduction of the new act, a criminal can be apprehended within a reasonable amount of time after a crime is committed.

Asked how he felt about being the inspiration behind the new law, Chen told reporters:

I am really happy with this. We got more power.

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The Lucky Moose Food Mart (via JBCurio/Flickr)


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