No Charges for Accidental Shooting in Calgary Home

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On August 6th at 11pm, officers with the Calgary Police Service responded to a call from the Woodbine community reporting an accidentally discharged firearm.

According to reports, a 25-year-old man accidentally fired his legally-owned handgun, while inside his own Calgary home. The bullet penetrated his outer wall, went through the wall of his neighbor's home, and struck the neighbor—an unidentified 61-year-old man—in the abdomen.

He was last reported as being in serious but stable and non-life threatening condition, according to Emergency Medical Services spokesman Stuart Brideaux.

The man allegedly responsible for discharging the weapon immediately phoned the Calgary Police himself, and was arrested without incident. There are currently no charges laid against him and he is said to be fully cooperating with Calgary Police.

"As a gun owner, you’ve got certain responsibilities and obligations to meet," said Det. Neil MacPherson. "That’s something we’re going to be looking into, just to make sure that all steps that could have been reasonably taken were taken."

This case points to the importance of intention when it comes to criminal charges for violence in Calgary. Purposefully threatening someone with a gun, even if the gun is never discharged and no physical harm is caused, is grounds for an assault charge; accidentally shooting someone might not lead to a charge of any sort.

Determining/establishing intention is thus an important part of many defence cases when it comes to assault and other violent crimes.

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