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‘What say ye?’: B.C. man crafts florid narrative around contempt of court

Castlegar trial for charges of escaping custody, assaulting officer takes a rather ostentatious turn
A commotion took place at the Castlegar Courthouse on Tuesday, Oct. 31. File photo

Proceedings at the Castlegar Courthouse on Oct. 31 were interrupted when an unruly man refusing to respect the court was taken into custody by court sheriffs.

The matter before the court was a trial for David Bruce Mitchell on charges of willfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer, escaping lawful custody and assaulting a peace officer. The offences are alleged to have taken place in Tarrys, B.C.

Judge Craig Sicotte asked the courtroom who was present regarding the Mitchell file.

“I am here on that matter,” replied the man, but did not identify himself as Mitchell.

Instead he stated, “I am one of the native people of the commonwealth. This is the third time I have been forced down here under duress per minas. I am a living being. I came here for one reason only today and that is for my remedy which the law provides.

“I am here to demand my right of subrogation be certified in writing at this time by the prosecutor and the plaintiff. What say ye?”

Sicotte asked the man for his name, but his response was to restate his demand to his “right of subrogation.”

Subrogation is the practise of substituting one legal party for another, typically in contracts. It wasn’t clear what subrogation had to do with the man’s appearance in court.

The judge made several more attempts to get the man to confirm his identity, but received similar responses, each time escalating in force and volume.

Sicotte then ordered the man to stand up. He refused.

At that point, Sicotte asked the court sheriffs to take the man into custody for contempt of court.

“You are not holding me in contempt, you are beneath my contempt,” was the man’s response.

The man resisted efforts by the sheriffs to escort him out of the courtroom, while continuing to speak in a loud and disrespectful manner to the judge.

The man told the judge he had no authority to order an arrest.

“A worthless arrest without any clear and articulable suspicion is assault and battery,” claimed the man.

He then said the sheriff was assaulting him, even though no one was touching him at the time.

The sheriffs then raised the man to his feet and placed him in handcuffs.

The man continued to rail at the judge with accusations of false imprisonment and curse at the judge and sheriffs.

The judge ordered an arrest warrant be issued for David Bruce Mitchell for non-appearance at his trial. He then left the courtroom.

The man was finally escorted out of the courtroom and into a holding cell while he continued to make further claims of “hostage taking.”

About 25 minutes later, the judge had the man brought back into the courtroom, this time in the prisoner’s box.

As soon as the man entered the box, he began his tirade once again.

Sicotte asked the man if he was prepared to apologize for his actions, but didn’t even get his sentence finished before the man began shouting back.

He was once again removed from the court, shouting and cursing.

The judge ordered him held over night followed by another appearance before the court Nov. 1, this time by video.

READ MORE: Temporary winter shelter to open in Castlegar on Dec. 1

Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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