In use-of-force scenarios, circumstances may change quickly.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario has signaled in R. v. Forcillo that a significant change in the circumstances in which force is used—even within the same transaction—may make the further use of a level of defensive force which had been justified (even at the level of lethal force) no longer so.
As one’s apprehension of the threat he/she is facing changes, for instance, so too may his/her ability to use force as a lawful response.
In R. v. Forcillo, 2018 ONCA 402, a Toronto police officer, Forcillo, fired two volleys of shots at a young man, Yatim, who was brandishing a knife on a Toronto streetcar, threatening passengers, and acting erratically. Officer Forcillo fired the two volleys 5.5 seconds apart. It was open for the jury to find that the Crown had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the second volley was not a justified use of lethal force on the basis that at the time Forcillo fired the second volley, Forcillo did not reasonably perceive that Yatim posed an imminent threat to him.