Man Who Shot Home Intruder Won’t Face Murder Charge, CBC Reports

(Update: Adds in second paragraph that Budgell is in jail for drug dealing.)

In one of the rare cases in Canada where courts recognize a legal gun owner may have used firearms and ammunition in legitimate self-defence, a man who shot a home intruder won’t be charged with murder, CBC reported today, citing the prosecution.

The Crown dropped charges this morning of second-degree murder against Gilbert Budgell of Botwood, Newfoundland, citing the low likelihood of conviction, CBC said on its website. Budgell will return to prison to serve a sentence for drug trafficking, the news organization said.

Police said two home intruders entered Budgell’s home in April 2016, according to CBC. One of them was shot, beaten, and died of of blunt-force trauma to the head, police said, according to CBC. The firearm used was a rifle that Budgell owned legally, said Karen O’Reilly, a Crown attorney, CBC reported, without identifying the make, model or calibre.

Self-Defence?

“What we’ve determined is that there is no reasonable likelihood of conviction, that we wouldn’t be able to prove that it wasn’t self-defence,” CBC quoted O’Reilly as telling reporters after a short hearing.

Buying and owning guns and ammunition legally in Canada requires a police-issued licence, and laws prohibit keeping firearms loaded and ready for protection at home. Guns can be prepared and loaded legally only after you’ve identified a potentially lethal threat, such as a violent intruder, spouse or family member.

Police also prohibit almost all private civilians from carrying loaded firearms for self-defence in daily life, even though it is allowed by law.

More than 2 million Canadian men, women and youth have licences that allow them to collect guns and use them for recreation, hunting and competition, and millions more unlicensed family, friends and others also enjoy legal shooting.

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