Kidnapping and weapons charges were dropped this morning against a shopkeeper who was arrested for detaining a suspected shoplifter.
However, David Chen still faces charges of forcible confinement and assault after he and two employees at his Chinatown grocery store tackled and tied up the man last May 23.
Chen, 35, Jie Chen, 21 and Qing Li, 40, were initially charged with assault, forcible confinement, carrying a concealed weapon and kidnapping. The weapon count related to a box cutter Chen had clipped to his belt.
"Two of the four (charges) have been withdrawn, including the most serious. which is the kidnapping, as well as the carrying a concealed weapon, which I always said was a ludicrous charge," defence lawyer Peter Lindsay said to reporters outside the courtroom. "But we’ll go to trial on the other two and we’re confident that we’ll have the right result."
Anthony Bennett, the shoplifter who was nabbed by Chen in the May 23 incident, pleaded guilty on Aug. 17 to stealing 10 plants from Chen’s Lucky Moose Food Mart on Dundas St. W., and also to plant thefts at a King St. W. store
Chen has already rejected a deal to plead guilty to two of the charges in exchange for avoiding jail.
His trial is scheduled for June.
"I’m not so good," he said in Mandarin outside the court today. "Because they only dropped two charges. I hoped the would drop everything."
Running his store while dealing with legal matters has been difficult for him and his family, Chen said. He has a wife and two young children, aged 6 and 2.
The back rows of the Old City Hall courtroom where his case was heard this morning were filled with his supporters, friends and strangers who’d been alerted to the hearing by flyers handed out in Chinatown.