Charges dropped against man who struck home intruder with hatchet

Assault charges against a southern Alberta man accused of hitting a home intruder with a hatchet have been dropped.

TABER — Assault charges against a southern Alberta man accused of hitting a home intruder with a hatchet have been dropped.

The Crown withdrew the charges in Taber court on Tuesday after Joseph Bradley Singleton completed an alternative measures program.

Singleton’s lawyer, Douglas Carle, said outside court that his client was happy the matter had been resolved.

He said the outcome was a deal agreed to by the defence and the Crown after months of negotiations.

“That was of course our primary stated goal from the very beginning, that the charges in this matter should be withdrawn,” Carle said.

“We’re somewhat disappointed that it took this period of time and Mr. Singleton had to go through what he did to get to this point.”

There was a great deal of public support for Singleton, who said he was simply protecting his family last May during a break-in by hitting the culprit with the blunt end of a hatchet.

However, Carle said Singleton, 46, realizes that by the strict letter of the law the crime had already been committed and he didn’t have the right to defend himself after the fact.

“In Mr. Singleton’s mind he acted in defence of himself and his wife and his family, although now in light of the legal interpretation of the particular section (of the Criminal Code) in question, he realizes that and takes responsibility for the fact he didn’t actually catch this individual but caught him immediately after.”

The intruder pleaded guilty in January to break and enter and was given an 18-month conditional sentence followed by probation.