Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Man jailed for failed stab-proof-vest test

Are you your best friend’s keeper? Well if he’s a moron, going around asking people to stab him in the chest, the answer, according to a court in Edmonton, Alberta, is a resounding, yes.

It happened on October 15, 2012, when Justin Harder, 18, went up to his friend Calvin Clackson, 21, and said something along the lines of, Hey, check me out! I have a stab-proof vest. Here, I’ll prove it: take this knife and stab me in the chest with it!

So, unwisely it turns out, Clackson took the knife and did just that. To his horror the, stab-proof vest failed the test and Harder wound up with a sucking chest wound near his heart. According to prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga, “Unfortunately, the vest didn’t work and the knife went through the vest and into the chest cavity and Mr. Harder was seriously injured.”  He required emergency surgery to save his life.

Clackson’s attorney Akram Attia argued that his client and Harder are “very close friends. …There was absolutely no intention to cause harm. Stupidity ran deep that night.”

On December 3, 2013, Provincial Court Judge Michael Allen who heard the case was not amused, ”I don’t care that the victim was stupid. … This could have been a death.”

Allen concluded that though, ”It was foolish for the friend to offer the invitation, it was criminally negligent for the accused to take up the invitation,” and sentenced Clackson to six months in jail.

As for Harder, there may be no cure for stupid, but there are also no charges associated with either. In his defense, there are many such vests for sale on the Internet as well as demonstration videos available, though many come with the warning: Don’t try this at home.

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