• Freemen-on-the-Land in Civil and Criminal Courts: An Update on the Fearn Cases
  • April 8, 2014
  • Law Firm: Davis LLP - Vancouver Office
  • Last February, the issue of Freemen-on-the-Land / Sovereign Citizens in Alberta courts was reignited by the case of Fearn v Canada Customs, 2014 ABQB 114, in which Glenn Winningham Fearn, an American Freeman and OPCA (Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument) litigant applied to Queen’s Bench to overturn a yet-unheard criminal trial. Fearn had been arrested at the Canadian border and faced a weapons charge. Fearn’s application was dismissed due to the rule against collateral attack, as well as due to Fearn’s OPCA arguments, which included claims that the laws of Alberta were “pretend,” that the members of the Law Society of Alberta were agents of the Vatican, and that Fearn had the right to use lethal force against Canada Customs agents if he deemed his arrest to be unlawful.

    The case clarified and solidified the growing body of case law in Alberta dealing with the issue of OPCA litigants. I have previously written about the Fearn civil case here, and now the decision regarding the related criminal case has been released in R v Fearn, 2014 ABPC 58.

    Fearn was charged with smuggling and importing into Canada ten over-capacity magazines designed for AK-47s, two push daggers, one canister of pepper spray, and a blow dart gun, as well as making a false or deceptive statement contrary to the Customs Act. Fearn attended the opening of the trial, but after ten minutes he claimed to fire the Court (he was self-represented at the time), left the courtroom and did not return. Fearn then sent a notice containing a “declaration of war” to the prosecutor, several judges, and unnamed politicians. A warrant was issued for his arrest and he was sentenced ex-parte to four months incarceration and two years probation, which includes conditions that he shall not have any contact with any Alberta judge, prosecutor, or border guard, and that he shall attend any psychiatric counselling that is recommended by his probation officer.

    Fearn was arrested on March 10 at the American Consulate in Calgary. Hopefully both the Fearn civil and criminal cases will help raise awareness of the issue of Freemen-on-the-Land among not just the legal community, but anyone who may encounter this organization.