A jury will have to decide if it was reasonable or reckless for a young man to shoot an ATV rider in the leg for riding on his property last spring.
Gerry Edward Franklin Bigchild, 19, of the Sunchild First Nation Reserve is on trial for charges of possession of a weapon for the purpose of committing an offence, careless use of a firearm, use of a firearm while committing an indictable offence and aggravated assault.
The Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench trial opened on Monday with several admissions by the defence, including that Bigchild did shoot Jonathan Mackinaw in the ankle with a .22-calibre rifle on May 24. The incident took place about 2 a.m. on property where Bigchild lived next door to his grandfather Gerry Redbear.
In his opening remarks to the jury, Crown prosecutor Wayne Silliker said Bigchild admitted to police that he shot a quad rider in the left ankle. The victim also suffered an injured left shin when he fell off the ATV.
Silliker was careful to point out what he said wasn’t evidence.
He said Bigchild fired three shots in the air from the rifle that had a scope mounted on it.
Silliker then said Bigchild, with the aid of Redbear who shone a light on the ATV rider, fired two rounds at the machine.
“The accused admitted he fired to scare them off,” Silliker said. “Is firing a rifle at a person a threat? The accused will say he didn’t want to hurt” anyone.
Defence lawyer Luke Kurata’s theory is that his client was trying to protect his grandfather and his family and their property. Sunchild is about 55 km northwest of Rocky Mountain House.
Silliker said an important question is was the accused was justified in shooting because he was defending his property.
The ATV was later discovered to be stolen but it wasn’t stolen from Bigchild or Redbear.
Const. Ryan Breitkreuz testified he first responded to the incident that was initially listed as an ATV collision in which someone was trying to steal gas from Redbear.
Breitkreuz said after arresting Bigchild he asked the accused why he was arrested.
“He said for shooting guy in the leg,” the Mountie told Justice Alan Macleod.
The quad that the alleged victim had been riding had been reported stolen the day before from the Brazeau Dam area. A second quad found abandoned nearby had been reported stolen from Rocky on May 5.
The trial continues.