Fatal stabbing at The Forks parkade ruled self-defence – Winnipeg Free Press


In a rare move, Winnipeg police and the provincial prosecution service have declined to lay charges — citing self-defence — after a man died in an altercation at The Forks parkade.

A 23-year-old woman was arrested May 3, after police were called to the parking structure at the downtown gathering space for a report of an assault at around 10 p.m.

Kyle James Craik, 27, was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.



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Winnipeg police and the provincial prosecution service have declined to lay charges — citing self-defence — after a man died in an altercation at The Forks parkade in May this year.

On Monday, police said Craik had confronted the woman, who he didn’t know, and, in the ensuing altercation, was fatally stabbed. Winnipeg Police Service spokeswoman Const. Dani McKinnon was unable to reveal further details of the lead-up to the confrontation.

Manitoba Justice and a senior Crown attorney reviewed the case and determined officials will not lay charges because the woman’s response was meant to defend herself and considered reasonable in the circumstances, police said.

McKinnon added it’s a rare case that police don’t lay charges in a slaying.

Brandon Trask, a University of Manitoba assistant law professor, concurred.

“For the police to determine, in conjunction with the Crown, at this stage that self-defence is established, meaning no charges should be laid in the first place, that is quite rare,” Trask said. “Especially where a death results.”

Trask said under the Criminal Code, a person needs to meet three main factors to be considered not guilty of offence on the grounds of self-defence: whether the person reasonably believed they were being hurt or are threatened with force; their response was meant to defend themselves; and the response itself is reasonable.

“Trying to determine what is reasonable in the circumstances is generally speaking the most challenging aspect of assessing self-defence,” Trask said.

Among the factors in deciding whether someone’s response was reasonable is how proportionate it is to the violence they’re subjected to.

“If somebody comes at somebody carrying a ruler, to respond with a gun would, obviously, be quite excessive,” Trask said. “If somebody responded to someone using a particular weapon by picking up the same type of weapon and responding in kind — that’s more arguable that that’s self-defence.”

The Crown would have assessed whether there was a reasonable prospect the woman would have been convicted, and if prosecuting her would be in the public interest, he added.

“It would seem that the Crown decided the answer to the first question… was no. And part of that analysis looks at any potential defence that someone might be able to put forward,” Trask said.

“For that to be the determination at this stage… I would say that this quite rare — but it looks this was a pretty thorough review that would’ve been done.”



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Kyle James Craik, 27, was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The most recent slaying deemed to be self-defence by Winnipeg police had been in May 2021.

A daylight fight near Portage Place shopping centre put a man in hospital in critical condition May 21. Police initially arrested several suspects and charged a 23-year-old man with aggravated assault, among other offences.

Thomas Earl Cameron, 30, died in hospital two days later. However, after a police investigation and a senior Crown attorney’s insight, no homicide charges were laid.

Police announced in June 2021 the incident was deemed to be self-defence.

Craik’s death was the second publicized assault at The Forks this year.

In January, a man survived an unprovoked, mid-day stabbing as he was exiting a washroom at the market.

In late June/early July, a spate of violence at The Forks — during which seven people were assaulted in less than a week, including two Ukrainian refugees — sparked outrage in the city.

erik.pindera@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @erik_pindera

Erik Pindera

Erik Pindera
Reporter

Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.



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