Peter Watts convicted -

Peter Watts convicted

Canadian author “obstructed and resisted” border guards (UPDATED)


In a shock to Canada’s sci-fi community, Peter  Watts, writer of the deep-sea based science fiction “Rifters Trilogy,” has been convicted of obstructing and resisting a police officer in Michigan. Earlier reports that he was also convicted of assault were incorrect. According to police reports, the Toronto author was returning to Canada when his car was selected for inspection. He stepped out of the vehicle to ask what was going on, was ordered to lay down and didn’t obey fast enough.  Officers then punched, pepper sprayed and restrained him. Watts says he did “nothing to provoke” the border guards, and that he was assaulted for simply asking why he was being searched. Other Canadian writers, such as Cory Doctorow, have spoken out on Watts’ behalf, calling the American government authoritarian and criticizing it for demanding blind obedience at border crossings.  The author’s sentencing is scheduled for April 26th, and he could face up to two years in prison and a $2,000 fine.

Toronto Star

Boing Boing

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Peter Watts convicted

  1. Please note: the assault charge was disproved during the trial and ultimately dropped. Dr. Watts was convicted of non-compliance and resisting. There are some post-trial comments by a juror on the site of the local Port Huron paper. The link is here:


    Assault was never one of the charges. We were given one option… felony obstruction/resisting. I don't know if the prosecutor dropped the assault prior to the jury convening, but it was never presented to us. And thank you for not being hostile.


    The Times Herald continues to print that Mr. Watts was found guilty of assault. HE WAS NOT!!! He was found guilty of obstructing/resisting, and that was due to the time that transpired between him being ordered to do something and him actually complying with the order. We were forced to decide what was a reasonable amount of time for him to comply with an order. Mr. Watts, in my opinion, was treated unfairly by Customs and Border Protection. But, unfortunately, they were not on trial.

  2. Three days later this story and its headline still have not been corrected. Shame on Maclean's magazine. Surely Watts has grounds for a libel suit.