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Okotoks rancher Edouard Maurice sued by trespasser shot on his property
Edouard Maurice, the Okotoks man who had the charges against him dropped in connection with a shooting on his rural property, has been named in a lawsuit by the shooting victim who is now seeking more than $100,000 in damages.
On September 6, a lawsuit was filed against Maurice on behalf of Calgarian Ryan Watson.
In his statement of claim, Watson admitted to entering Maurice's farmland on February 25, 2018. Watson says Maurice fired a .22 calibre rifle at him as a warning shot but the rancher missed and the shot struck the intruder in the right forearm.
Watson claims he suffered "severe damages and disability" as a result of the incident and required the installation of a metal plate in his arm. Watson says his symptoms include pain, discomfort, dizziness, nausea, migraines, fatigue, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Watson is seeking $100,000 from Maurice for "general damages for pain and suffering" as well as an undisclosed amount to cover lost income.
Calling it "totally bogus", Maurice's wife Jessica said the lawsuit came as a complete surprise to both her and her husband.
"We were just kind of speechless and we are still to an extent," she said, adding, "how could a criminal even file something like that?"
Her husband Edouard added, "basically this is the third time we've been victimized over this whole ordeal."
Maurice was originally charged with aggravated assault, pointing a firearm and careless use of a firearm in connection with the events on his property in February, 2018. The charges against Maurice were dropped in June, 2018.
The case drew scores of people to the Okotoks courthouse to offer both emotional and financial support to Maurice. That support network appears to be ramping up again in light of the lawsuit.
"I've been hearing from people all over already saying, is there a GoFundMe campaign? How can I help?" said Cory Morgan, a blogger and activist who was a regular attendee at Maurice's trial.
"Should Jessica and Eddie have any trouble with legal bills, they needn't worry," she added. "Albertans are more than willing to chip in."
That was confirmed by Edouard, who said, "Since it's (the lawsuit) been released, everyone has been contacting us, giving us their support."
At first, it appeared the province was joining the suit against Edouard Maurice. Tuesday in Edmonton, Premier Jason Kenney said that was added by Watson's lawyer, and the province is not interested in pursuing a civil action against Maurice.
Jessica Maurice said they intend to fight the lawsuit with everything they've got.
"We are going to fight it as much was we can, because there is no chance we are going to settle with this person."
The original incident on Maurice's property occurred on February 24, 2018, when the rancher confronted two people attempting to break into vehicles. RCMP say two shots were fired.
Watson and Stephanie Ann Martens were charged with trespassing, theft and mischief in connection with the incident.
The allegations outlined in the lawsuit have not been proven in court.