Shuswap Band member and 'freeman on the land' defies court order, uses hot tub - InfoNews

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Shuswap Band member and 'freeman on the land' defies court order, uses hot tub

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April 27, 2020 - 7:30 AM

A Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band member barred by a court order from various facilities on the reserve has been found in contempt of court for using the swimming pool and hot tub.

In the decision, April 21, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sheri Ann Donegan said Peter Allan August-Sjodin "wilfully and flagrantly" broke the court order that prohibits him from entering the area and he had a "complete lack of concern" about the damage he did to the Band and his fellow Band members.

The case follows a long history between the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band and August-Sjodin, who goes by a multitude of different names, including "spi7uwe" and ":spi7uwe./:secwepemc," and is referred to in court documents as a "freeman on the land," a group of people known to use frivolous, quasi-legal arguments that have long been dismissed by the court and followers have found themselves in deep financial trouble because they believe they don't have to pay taxes. 

Along with breaching the court order barring August-Sjodin from the pool, Justice Donegan also found him in contempt of court for filing liens on a variety of properties including one owned by the Band's lawyer, and the Vancouver courthouse. August-Sjodin was barred from filing liens in 2014 without the court's permission.

In 2016 the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band obtained a court order that prohibited August-Sjodin from entering half a dozen sites on the reserve including the Band's administration offices, the Skwlax Wellness Centre and the Quaaout Resort and Conference Centre, where he was ultimately found using the hot tub and swimming pool. The court order also preventing August-Sjodin from contacting 14 different individuals.

August-Sjodin was also restrained from issuing documents he called  "true bills." The court documents describe them as "lengthy, often nonsensical documents, covered in ink thumbprints and other markings that purport to be some kind of notice or statement of account."

The Justice who issued the court order in 2016 described August-Sjodin as a vexatious litigant, and found his pleadings "incoherent" and "unresponsive" and "were an abuse of the court process, scandalous, frivolous and vexatious."

The current case involves an incident where August-Sjodin walked into the Quaaout Resort and Conference Centre in December 2016.

The decision says when August-Sjodin was told the RCMP had been called and he was not allowed on the site, he replied that the Band and the RCMP did not have jurisdiction over the land.

It is clear that August-Sjodin does not feel the court has jurisdiction over him, Justice Donegan says in the decision.

Justice Donegan says August-Sjodin "openly and brazenly" breached his court order, and even signed the pool’s waiver form.

"He is unapologetic and remains defiant that he is not bound to comply," the Justice said. "His conduct is reprehensible."

The Justice awarded the Band costs, the amount of which will be decided in a future court appearance.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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