Taber, alberta

All charges have been withdrawn against a southern Alberta man who was accused of hitting an escaping robber last spring with the broad side of a hatchet.

Joseph Bradley Singleton, 46, and his wife arrived at their Taber-area acreage on May 29, 2010, to discover that intruders had broken into their house.

One man was struck in the face with the blunt side of a hatchet as he tried to get away in a vehicle, injuring his teeth and face.

That man later pleaded guilty to break and enter and received a conditional sentence.

After consulting the Crown prosecutor's office, RCMP charged Singleton with one count of assault with a weapon and one count of assault causing bodily harm.

Rather than face trial, the homeowner was told last month he could instead complete an alternative measures program. He has now finished that process, officials said Tuesday.

Singleton received an outpouring of support from members of the community who believed he should not have been charged for protecting his property and family.

Taber is about 50 kilometres east of Lethbridge.