A judge rejected the Crown’s recommendation Thursday of jail time for Brian Alexander, instead fining the former mayoral candidate and self-proclaimed freeman $1,750 for obstructing police.
Alexander was charged after he refused to co-operate with RCMP who pulled him over for speeding on the Halston Bridge. He was travelling more than 40 km/h over the limit, but initially refused to get out of his vehicle and phoned 911, falsely claiming he was being assaulted.
Throughout the trial, Alexander insisted he meant no harm and was merely asserting what he believes are his inalienable “common law” rights.
“In my view, Mr. Alexander is a seriously misguided individual who subscribes to this unorthodox view,” said Justice Christopher Cleaveley in provincial court. “I don’t think any member of the public would believe the things Mr. Alexander said, saw or did.”
The judge said Alexander didn’t want to surrender his vehicle that day and concocted a tactic to thwart police.
“Quite frankly, with regard to the issue of remorse, I feel Mr. Alexander speaks out of both sides of his mouth.”
Representing himself in court, Alexander cited a Kamloops Daily News opinion piece about the freeman movement and an earlier judgment against a defendant claiming to be a freeman. He questioned whether he would be treated fairly because of those opinions.
Cleaveley assured him he would be treated without prejudice while citing the independence of the judiciary as a whole and from one another. He repeatedly halted Alexander during the convicted man’s sentencing submission, saying he was attempting to re-litigate his case.
Crown prosecutor Tim Livingston had asked for 21 days’ jail time to meet the sentencing principles of denunciation and deterrence, since Alexander showed no remorse and maintains that he can opt out of common legal obligations.
“This goes to the core of the functioning of the rule of law,” Livingston said. “There needs to be a message sent that society will not tolerate somebody who thinks he’s above the law.”
Alexander, 42, and a father with shared custody of his son, has no criminal record. He said he respects the law and government, but not public servants who act above the law. He said he considers it his duty to resist when he feels his rights are threatened. His discourse with the judge grew testy at times.
“Choose your words carefully or I’m going to hold you in contempt of court,” the judge said at one point.
In sentencing, Cleavely said he believes Alexander is “somewhat of a puppet and someone else is pulling his strings.” Describing Alexander's as an isolated case, he concluded jail was not necessary and that a fine would be an appropriate disposition. He told him he has one year to pay the sum.
“I can’t pay. This is costing me close to $10,000,” Alexander replied.
“It’s not a question of negotiating, Mr. Alexander.”
Alexander faces the same charge of obstructing police over an incident in Merritt. That case goes to trial May 26.