Our Crime Panel looks at legal ways to combat rural crime, a court case that may just highlight flaws in our mental healthcare system and courts restricting reproductive rights.

Vigilance rather than choosing vigilantism

An Okotoks area homeowner is facing charges after firing shots at alleged thieves on his property.

The incident is fueling tensions among some rural residents who feel unprotected by police amid an increase in property crimes.

The situation is causing some confusion over how and what residents can do to protect their homes.

Unlike the U.S “castle law”, Canada’s criminal code is clear about what is considered legal use of force when a property owner is defending themselves.

Mother found ‘not criminally responsible’ in death of daughter

Christie Longridge has been found not criminally responsible for the murder of her 21-year-old daughter. Christine’s daughter, Rachel Longridge, was nearly decapitated when found by police in December 2016.

Christine pleaded not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder. In his decision Justice Wayne Renke cited that Christine’s mental illness did not allow her to understand why the murder of her daughter was morally wrong.

Christine Longridge was known to have suffered with mental health issues, nearly twenty years ago she was diagnosed with schizoaffective and bipolar disorder. The crown and Defence both agreed on a NCR verdict.

Christine is being held at the Alberta Hospital Edmonton before she meets with the review board in a month.

Can the courts restrict a woman from reproducing?

In what her lawyers are considering a Canadian first, a Montreal woman will take pregnancy tests twice a year as part of her sentence.

The woman, whose name cannot be released under a publication ban, pleaded guilty to infanticide last year. In additional to pregnancy testing the woman was sentenced to 20 months house arrest, and three years’ probation.

Unknowingly pregnant the woman gave birth in a bathtub, the baby was found by her spouse alive in a plastic bag but died days later. Originally the woman was charged with manslaughter, a charge that was later downgraded to infanticide.

Our Crime Panel consists of: Irfan Chaudhry, director of the office of human rights, diversity and equity, and criminology instructor at MacEwan University; mark cherrington, youth justice advocate and Kevin Martin, Postmedia court reporter.