Alberta rancher files counterclaim against intruder he shot on his property

Okotoks rancher Eddie Maurice, who is being sued by the trespasser he shot on his rural property, has come out swinging in a counterclaim.

In court documents filed Tuesday, Maurice is seeking $150,000 in damages against intruder Ryan Watson, the man who filed a lawsuit against him last month in connection with a Feb. 24, 2018, incident on Maurice’s Okotoks property.

Watson is claiming $100,000 against Maurice, who fired two warning shots at him before he and an accomplice fled the defendant’s property after rummaging through two vehicles.

One of the bullets ricocheted and struck Watson in the arm.

In his counterclaim disputing Watson’s lawsuit, filed along with a statement of defence by lawyer Scott Chimuk, Maurice said the plaintiff was the victim of his own doing.

It said Watson failed to heed Maurice’s warnings to leave the property as he was going through the rancher’s vehicles, forcing the defendant to fire two shots into the ground.

The incident had a significant effect on Maurice and his family, it said.

Watson was handed a 45-day sentence in February on charges of mischief and breaching probation in connection with his early morning intrusion onto Maurice’s land.

But because he had already served enough so-called dead time, Watson left Okotoks provincial court that day without doing any more time behind bars.

Court was told Maurice called police to report he fired two warning shots at two intruders.

A short time later, Watson, suffering a wound to his arm, was attended to by EMS, who took him to hospital for treatment.

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