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Monday, February 21, 2011

MP Aims for Easier Citizens Arrest

Huron Bruce | by Peter Jackson  

Bill calls for relaxation of current law which limits time a citizen can hold a suspect.

The power of the media may help the Harper government gain Opposition support in the Commons as it moves forward with proposed legislation to make citizens arrests easier.

The bill tabled late last week calls for a relaxation in the current law which limits the amount of time a citizen can hold a suspect until police arrive.

Huron-Bruce Conservative MP Ben Lobb believes the legislation is necessary.

A citizens arrest now can be made only if a suspect is caught in the act of committing an offence or almost immediately afterward.

If passed, the proposed legislation would extend the length of time in which such an arrest can be made.

Lobb tells us the bill was inspired by the situation a Toronto shopkeeper faced when trying to arrest a shoplifter last summer.

Security video run repeatedly on television showed the store owner chasing the suspect through a back alley then tackling the man and holding him down.

The incident took place about an hour after a shoplifting incident at the store.

Lobb is convinced high-profile media coverage of the Toronto store owner case prompted quicker introduction of the proposed legislation.

He says the security footage and coverage of the store owner's court appearance has lent urgency to the bill and motivated Opposition MPs to support the minority Conservatives on the issue.


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