Saturday, March 20, 2010

Canadian author convicted in border incident

Back in December, Canadian biologist and science fiction writer Peter Watts was arrested by US border officers in Port Huron, Michigan, curiously while leaving the US. Apparently they've taken to searching random vehicles as they approach the border, for some reason. Well, he's now been convicted and could face prison time:

A Toronto science fiction author involved in a December dust-up at a Michigan border crossing has been found guilty of resisting and obstructing a police officer.

Peter Watts, 52, could face up to two years in jail and a $2,000 fine. He will be sentenced April 26.

In a blog written shortly after the St. Clair County jury’s verdict, Watts said he was disappointed by the decision but would live with it.

“I still maintain I did nothing wrong; but as far as I can tell the trial was fair, and I will abide by its outcome,” he wrote.

Still, the author criticized the law, saying it was too open to interpretation and that his resistance and obstruction was simply asking the guard, “What is the problem?” while being ordered to the ground.

“Whether that’s actual noncompliance or simply slow compliance is, I suspect, what the jury had to decide,” he wrote, noting that the jury’s 5 1/2 hours of deliberations showed they took their job seriously.

Meanwhile, prosecutor Mary Kelly said the decision reaffirmed the fact that “the rules apply to everybody, no matter who you are.

“An officer gives you a command, you have to listen,” she said after the trial.

From the Star. The blog entry in question can be found here. Best of luck to him when the sentence is handed down; it probably doesn't help that the 26th of April is a Monday.

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