UPDATE: 5:30 p.m.
It was a rambunctious day in court for a Kelowna man, seen as the leader of ‘freedom fighter rallies’, who was to stand trial Wednesday for two counts of assault.
While David Lindsay eventually gave way to participating in the trial, the proceedings initially hit a snag after he refused to have his bag checked before entering the courtroom.
Due to the large number of people planning to attend the March 1, session, security measures were increased and a bag check was implemented, which Lindsay was not anticipating.
The protest leader was supported by approximately 50 other members of the group Common Law Education and Rights (CLEAR) at the courthouse.
At approximately 9:30 a.m. Lindsay refused to enter the courtroom and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
A sheriff made Lindsay aware of the warrant and he entered the courtroom, without his bag.
Following the mornings antics Judge Cathaline Heinrich put the trial on a break until the afternoon.
At 2:30 p.m., Lindsay once again entered the courtroom, telling Judge Heinrich, “I’m not participating.”
He said that without the belongings in his bag, and open access to the courtroom for his supporters, he would not be participating in the trial.
He went on to raise concerns about the “constitutional violations,” of requiring personal belongings be searched and said that the required search was preventing his supporters from entering the courtroom.
The judge was quick to cut Lindsay off, to which he replied, “You know what? You can talk to the hand. I’m not participating.”
Lindsay’s charges were read aloud to the court, followed by the judge asking how he would plead. Lindsay did not reply, giving way for the judge to enter a plea of not guilty on his behalf.
Due to Lindsay’s silence, it was understood that he would not be calling any witnesses.
After the Crown called their first witness, Lindsay repeated that he would not participate without his notes or supporters.
Lindsay engaged in deliberation with the judge and the court briefly stood down for Lindsay to get his notes and laptop from his bag.
Crown called their first witness Daniel Fortier, an officer with the Kelowna RCMP.
The evidence given by Fortier was placed under a Voir Dire and cannot be reported on.
The trial will resume on March 2, at 9:30 a.m.
The trial has been postponed until 2p.m. for unrelated reasons.
A leader of ‘freedom fighter rallies’ in Kelowna was scheduled to begin his trial for two charges of assault on March 1, but the session has been delayed due to his unwillingness to be searched before entering the courtroom.
In an interview outside of the courthouse the accused, David Lindsay said that he will not participate in the trial if the judge does not change the requirement to have personal belongings checked.
Lindsay was supported by approximately 50 other members of the group Common Law Education and Rights (CLEAR) in the courthouse.
Lindsay also told his supporters to refuse the search.
“I asked everyone not to go in,” said Lindsay.
“They do not have reasonable and probable grounds to make a search so we refused to go in.”
Lindsay said that he was in for a preliminary hearing a few weeks ago with approx. 30 supporters and was not required to participate in a a bag search then.
After Lindsay failed to appear at 9:30 a.m., the judge approved the Crown’s request for an ‘unendorsed bench warrant’ to be issued for Lindsay’s arrest.
The warrant was enacted and Lindsay then briefly entered the court to speak with the judge. The warrant was then vacated but will likely be re-enacted if Lindsay fails to appear at 12p.m.
“They may issue another warrant for my arrest because I will not go in the courtroom if these searches are in place.”
Lindsay said that if the warrant is issued, the sheriffs will arrest him, take him around the back, and into the courtroom.
“I will let the judge know what is going on and that I will not be participating in the trial if they’re not letting everybody in.”
This is not the first time a warrant has been issued for his arrest, after failing to appear for court in February 2020, a judge issued a warrant.
If the judge allows people to enter without being searched Lindsay said that he will comply and the trial will proceed as planned.
If not, “they can talk to the hand. I will simply sit there and not participate.”
He said that the court will then likely continue the trial and enter a guilty conviction for his charges of assault. If found guilty, he “will do a constitutional challenge that these searches are unconstitutional.”
He added that he has been in court more than 350 times across Canada, including 30 times in Kelowna since 2005, and has no history of violence in a courtroom.
He was declared a vexatious litigant in 2006 and has argued several strange cases, including that he is not a “person” under the Income Tax Act and should not have to file income tax returns.
Following his COVID-19 protests, Lindsay was handed multiple fines worth several thousand dollars by the Kelowna RCMP. The protests often targeted Interior Health facilities and schools. He also organizes weekly protests at Kelowna’s Stuart Park.
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