PENTICTON - The man accused of attempting to smuggle two handguns and ammunition into Canada made court proceedings difficult in Penticton court today and wound up being denied bail.
Alex Louie is alleged to have attempted to smuggle the weapons across the border in Osoyoos early yesterday morning, Feb.1. He is facing nine weapons and smuggling charges.
Crown was seeking to keep Louie in custody given his past convictions, including driving while prohibited, and his history of non-compliance. Crown considers him to be a significant risk to public safety and a risk for flight given his U.S. driver's license and a native status card from Canada.
Louie, who appeared via video link from the Okanagan Correctional Centre, would not cooperate at the hearing this morning, Feb. 2, and refused legal representation. He stood to one side of the video camera so the court could not see him on the monitor.
He recited a mantra to Judge Gregory Koturbash in response to questions to confirm Louie’s desire not have a lawyer represent him.
“I’m a North American Indian, I’m not a Canadian citizen. I’m not a native American, I’m a North American Indian," Louie said, adding he didn’t have a treaty with Canada. “I waive the benefit privilege of this matter to be heard in this court."
Judge Koturbash asked Louie if he had anything to say about his continued detention, or his release from custody.
Louie replied he couldn’t defend himself properly if in jail, adding he wasn’t a threat to society.
“There is absolutely no reason for me to run from you," Louie said. “You call up my cousin Clarence Louie, you ask him... who’s the one that maintains the culture.”
Calling the case against Louie “a strong one” Koturbash said if convicted, Louie could face a lengthy jail term. He said Louie’s freedom to cross the border made him a heightened flight risk. The judge also said Louie has a “deeply ingrained belief the laws of Canada and the court have no authority over him.”
“Mr. Louie is not alone in this belief. The criminal justice system has seen an increased presence of similar people who have often labelled themselves Freemen On the Land, detachers of sovereign citizens. They all have a common collection of conspiratorial, legally incorrect, spurious beliefs, some more militant and aggressive than others,” Koturbash said, adding the courts were becoming increasingly aware of tactics used by these groups.
Koturbash said Louie was well known to the court and each time he appears he engages in a verbal standoff with the Crown and the court, alleging neither has any jurisdiction over him.
“Although I’m not aware of any physical altercations during his court attendances, Mr. Louie routinely demonstrates as being highly disruptive, exhibiting a great deal of hostility and aggression."
Citing Louie’s ingrained belief systems, the premeditated action and seriousness of his smuggling attempt and his past criminal record, Koturbash ordered him to remain in custody.
Louie is scheduled to be back in court on Feb. 8. to enter a plea on the charges he faces.
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