B.C. quarantine-denier gets surprise bill for legal efforts | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. quarantine-denier gets surprise bill for legal efforts

David Lindsay, organizer of the anti-COVID-19 restriction rallies in Kelowna, walks along Kelowna's waterfront Saturday, Jan. 16.
April 21, 2021 - 6:00 PM

A B.C. man who spent four days in jail after breaching the Quarantine Act three times in three days got nothing but a $750 bill for trying to sue the premier, health minister and attorney-general.

His case should also serve as a warning to others who adopt the so-called 'Freeman-on-the-Land' view of the law and those who bring pseudo-legal arguments to court.

Makhan Singh Parhar still has a date upcoming in provincial court, but earlier this month he tried to sue Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix, Attorney-general David Eby and a government lawyer. This, after he was charged Oct. 31, Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, 2020 with breaching public health orders imposed to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and then was placed into custody for four days — or “kidnapped” as he claimed.

Parhar, wasn’t able to argue many of his claims at a brief B.C. Supreme Court hearing in New Westminster in April because most of the hearing was taken by government lawyers arguing to have the case thrown out, which it was.

Parhar, who owns a Bikram Yoga studio in Delta, used a now-familiar line of reasoning in his claim, long ago rejected by courts across the country as frivolous and vexatious. It bore many of the hallmarks of the fringe 'Freeman-on-the-Land' arguments — similar to those espoused by David Lindsay, the organizer of Kelowna’s weekly Saturday protests against masks and public health orders.

His fines and arrest came after he attended a 'flat-earth' in South Carolina and refused to quarantine for two weeks. He's also spoken at anti-mask rallies in the Lower Mainland. He has also falsely claimed he hot yoga would kill the virus. 

It also appears Parhar was a recent convert to the ethos. Justice Murray Blok noted that a “colleague” of his made remarks in his stead, to attempt to clarify his argument that Parhar had not consented to be subject to the provisions of the Quarantine Act or the rules of court.

"It is patently absurd and nonsensical,” Blok said in his decision to toss the case. "It is difficult to understand how anyone could come to believe any of its concepts.

"I am not without sympathy for the plaintiff. He spent four days in jail, evidently the result of alleged breaches of the Quarantine Act, and it appears this occurred because someone convinced him, or he convinced himself, that statute law does not apply to him. It was a hard way to learn that laws do not work on an 'opt-in' basis.”

But while Blok followed many other justices in rejecting the case outright, neither the attorney-general nor the justice were satisfied with leaving it there.

The attorney-general sought costs against Parhar and Blok agreed, noting that ordering costs is one way to ensure litigants understand there are risks to filing frivolous lawsuits that force other parties to hire lawyers and absorb other costs.

Blok ordered Parhar to pay $750 in costs, down from the $1,000 sought by the attorney-general.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones or call 250-718-2724 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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