Okotoks rancher files countersuit against trespasser who suffered gunshot wound

The Okotoks man at the centre of a lawsuit in connection with a February 2018 shooting on his rural property is firing back and has filed a countersuit against the gunshot victim.

On Tuesday, Edouard Maurice, an Okotoks rancher, filed a statement of claim against Calgarian Ryan Watson as well as a statement of defence in response to Watson’s lawsuit submitted in September.

Watson has admitted to entering Maurice’s property in February 2018 and claimed the rancher hit him in the forearm with an off-target “warning shot”.  In Watson’s statement of claim, the Calgarian says he suffered “severe damages and disability” as a result of the shooting. Watson is seeking $100, 000 for “general damages for pain and suffering” as well as a yet-to-be determined amount to cover lost income.  

According to Maurice’s counterclaim and statement of defence, Maurice admits to firing two warning shots after spotting two trespassers rummaging through vehicles on his property. Maurice says he was home alone with his young daughter at the time and was worried that the intruders would “enter his home and that they may harm his baby daughter”. He says the shots from his .22 calibre rifle followed his verbal warning to the trespassers.

Maurice says his family has lost their sense of security as a result of the events of February 24 and members of the family have suffered mental distress, stress and anxiety. The family says Maurice’s wife suffered a miscarriage following the “trauma caused by the criminal incident”.

Maurice is seeking $150,000 to cover the punitive and aggravated damages his family suffered. The counterclaim says the award would “deter convicted criminals from launching lawsuits against their innocent victims.”

The allegations within Watson’s statement of claim and Maurice’s counterclaim have not been proven in court.