It’s the most wonderful time of year – the time where Home Alone is playing seemingly at all times of day across all channels. And like all things that are good and pure, the internet is making its best attempt to sully the good name of Kevin McAllister.
Every year, the holiday season brings out new articles painting Kevin McAllister as a criminal for his actions in defending his home against the Wet Bandits. This year, we’re endeavouring to set the record straight and explain some of his available defences.
We take a look at the criminal charges that online-would-be-Crown-attorneys attempt to lay at Mr. McAllister’s feet and outline his available defences against them.
Charge 1: The Use of Booby Traps
The Home Alone series stems around Kevin McAllister’s clever use of childhood-inspired traps and barricades. They are his primary method of staving off the “Wet Bandit” burglars, Harry Lime and Marv Merchants. For these actions, people attempt to accuse Kevin McAllister with the illegal actions of using booby traps.
Ontario’s Fortified Building Act makes it illegal to set, construct, place, or knowingly construct a trap on one’s property – even to defend it from intruders. If given an order to remove the trap, failure to remove can result in fines and/or jail time.
Chicago, where the altercation between Mr. McAllister and the Wet Bandits occurs, has similar regulations. While residents can employ reasonable means of preventing unlawful entry – such as a fence – they cannot use a booby trap. Recently a Chicago man was convicted of first-degree murder after his shotgun booby trap killed a burglar.
Available Defence: Self-Defence
The self-defence methods employed by Kevin do not constitute booby traps. The main problem with setting a booby trap is that it is indiscriminately triggered, with the potential to harm anyone. Mr. McAllister’s so-called “booby traps” were manually triggered. They were not used indiscriminately, but with the sole purpose of defending himself and his property from the immediate threat. However, IF his use of these “traps” is found to not fall within what is considered self-defence he could be liable of assault with a weapon or other weapons-related charges.
Mr. McAllister’s intent is further displayed by his cleaning up and removing all the traps after the Wet Bandits were arrested. This shows foresight to prevent accidental injury or risk to anyone else… or it could be considered post-offence conduct of hiding or destroying evidence.
Charge 2: Assault Causing Bodily Harm
It would be hard to deny that Mr. McAllister had a clear right to defend himself. However, even self-defence has its limitations. The argument is that some of Kevin’s traps go beyond justifiable self-defence. For instance, the blow torch and paint can traps had a substantial risk of causing death or grievous bodily injury.
Even in self-defence force that is intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm must be no more than is necessary to defend oneself.
To understand the different types of assaults in Canada please refer to the article titled “Different Types of Assaults in Canada – Excluding Sexual Related Offences“.
Defence of Necessity
Kevin McAllister had good and justifiable reason to believe that the use of force was necessary. The Wet Bandits were continually escalating the situation. They attempted repeated break-ins and spouted numerous utter threats of violence and even of grievous bodily injury. Marv threatened to bite off Kevin’s fingers, “one at a time.”
Furthermore, the Wet Bandits knew Mr. McAllister was home at the time of their intrusion. That means they were knowingly escalating their crime from burglary to home invasion. The risk in a home burglary is much higher, thus allowing for more significant use of force.
As well, we see throughout the series that Kevin McAllister is a fan of gangster movies. He may have recognized Marv as a dangerous criminal having seen him in Raging Bull and Goodfellas. With a reputation as a quick-tempered, violent mob enforcer, it would be fair to consider this threat as very serious.
As a further note, Kevin did not endeavour to cause death or grievous bodily harm before it was necessary. His initial attempt to thwart the burglars was entirely non-violent. He made it appear as though there were other people home in an attempt to convince the burglars to avoid the house altogether.
McAllister’s efforts did not escalate until the threat escalated. He didn’t want to harm anyone – he just wanted to jump on the bed, buy milk, and toboggan down the stairs.
The real nail in the coffin for the Crown’s case against Mr. McAllister is his age. At 8 years old, Kevin McAllister is simply too young to face criminal charges. As well, his age increases his vulnerability and the perceived threat, decreasing his culpability.
HIRING A YOUNG OFFENDER LAWYER
If a young offender is facing charges, it’s important to ensure they have the right representation. An experienced young offender lawyer makes sure their Charter rights are protected and followed.
Contact us today for questions or consultation.