Canadian science-fiction author Dr. Peter Watts has been found guilty of assault felony obstruction in connection with the incident we mentioned in December, when he was stopped on the US side of the border while crossing back into Canada.

As Watts tells the story, he was attacked and arrested by the border patrol officer; as the officer tells the story, Watts attacked him. Watts faces up to 2 years in prison; sentencing will take place April 26th. (Found via BoingBoing.)

Update: Ted R. points out Peter Watts’s blog entry on the verdict. As Paul Durrant also says in comments below, it turns out he was convicted not for “choking” a guard, but rather for not immediately obeying the guard’s order to get on the ground.

Update 2: It turns out that the paper misreported the charge; according to one of the jurors, “assault” was never presented as a charge, simply “felony obstruction/resisting”


  1. Whoops – posted my comment to the old story.

    Note that he was not convicted of violence towards a border official. Indeed, it’s admitted that he was struck in the face by the border guard.

    What he’s been convicted of it not immediately lying down on the ground when ordered to by the border guards just after being hit in the face.

    “After Beaudry had finished whaling on me in the car, and stepped outside, and ordered me out of the vehicle; after I’d complied with that, and was standing motionless beside the car, and Beaudry told me to get on the ground — I just stood there, saying “What is the problem?”, just before Beaudry maced me.
    And that, said the Prosecutor in her final remarks — that, right there, was failure to comply. That was enough to convict.”

    In short, if you don’t immediately comply with any lawful command by a border guard, you’re guilty of a felony.

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