VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Activists tried to arrest Premier John Horgan outside his house in Langford as the provincial budget is about to be revealed.
The premier wasn’t there when the protesters first showed up, but he came home shortly after and was verbally blasted by the demonstrators from Extinction Rebellion. A small group attempted to detain Horgan under what they are calling a citizen’s arrest to prevent him from getting to the legislature for the budget.
— Martin MacMahon (@martinmacmahon) February 18, 2020
RCMP moved in allowing the premier to get to the legislature. At least one person was arrested in the process.
NEWS 1130 legal analyst Michael Shapray says there are restrictions for conducting a citizen’s arrest and there are certain criteria to meet.
“It’s not just people walking around or deciding that something is wrong and they are going to start arresting people,” he explains.
Shapray says the idea of citizen’s arrest is “not to have a citizen’s criminal justice system,” describing the power as limited. If someone does make a citizen’s arrest, they must immediately hand the detained person over to the police.
“We don’t have vigilante justice systems set out through the citizen’s arrest laws and people have to comply with those requirements of calling the police,” he explains.
The primary purpose of a citizen’s arrest is if somebody who is not a peace officer finds another person committing a crime, sees a person escaping or being pursued by police, then a citizen can follow the criteria to make an arrest, according to Shapray. He adds there are some special circumstances related to offences on the property either at the time or within a reasonable amount of the offence.
Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson quickly condemned the actions of the protesters in a tweet.
“No one in B.C. should ever feel unsafe in their homes or at their workplace. This is not how democracy works and this is now how we treat each other here,” he says.
Extinction Rebellion had threatened to make citizen’s arrests and is planning a protest at the B.C. legislature in opposition to the provincial budget, claiming it harms the Wet’suwet’en. In a separate demonstration, forestry workers will also be protesting the budget demanding the NDP government do more to help the struggling industry. A convoy of 40 to 50 logging trucks will be driving to the legislature in the afternoon.
With files from Ash Kelly and Martin MacMahon