A provincial court judge in Prince Rupert, BC, has sentenced a 46-year-old man to a year in jail for contempt of court, ruling he tried to circumvent the justice system with “pseudo-legal” and “stupid” arguments .
Judge David Paterson sentenced Cameron Hardy, in part to deter others from subjecting the court to the theory known as “organized pseudo-legal commercial arguments.”
Paterson’s ruling details how Hardy, who was facing a charge of resisting or obstructing a peace officer in 2021, considers himself a “freeman,” meaning he won’t accept that courts have jurisdiction over him and falsely believes Canadian law doesn’t apply to him.
“The courts of British Columbia are legitimate, or they are not. There is no middle ground. There are no shades of grey,” Paterson’s ruling said.
“Unfortunately for Hardy, the courts of British Columbia, including the provincial court of British Columbia, are legitimate.”
Hardy, who represented himself in court, was charged with “contempt in the face of the court” for refusing to recognize the court’s legitimacy or to follow the court’s orders and take part in the trial process.
Misinformation in the courtroom
In his reasons for sentence on the contempt charge, Paterson found Hardy displayed “flagrant disregard” for the court’s directions and orders.
Paterson found Hardy’s legal arguments could be harmful to the justice system by turning routine matters into time-consuming exercises, and “his arguments were not merely legally false but often just plain stupid.”
“Hardy’s defense was vexatious and frivolous. He had no hope of success; thus, logically, his only purpose was to frustrate the court and waste government resources.”
Paterson ruled that Hardy intended to “harm or deceive the court” with “nonsensical” legal theory.
“It seems that phraseology such as ‘post-truth’ and ‘fake news’ has become increasingly prevalent in public discourse,” Paterson’s ruling says.
“As a court system, we need to recognize how the growing abundance of misinformation influences people in the political, technological, and societal context, including the courtroom.”
The ruling details how Hardy was first arrested in Prince Rupert in May 2021 and charged with one count of resisting or willfully obstructing peace officers in the execution of their duty.
Days after his arrest, Hardy was released from custody under the condition that he wasn’t allowed within 10 meters of a Prince Rupert liquor store.
In later virtual court appearances, Hardy repeatedly challenged the court’s jurisdiction over him, saying he was “not a person. I’m a man commonly called Cameron Hardy.”
His first trial date was set for Sept. 3, 2021, but Hardy wasn’t allowed in the courthouse when he refused to wear a mask.
At the time, the judge asked him over the phone if he had a letter from a doctor confirming he was unable to wear a mask for the short walk between the courthouse entrance and the courtroom where the trial was scheduled.
“I don’t need another man or woman’s permission to breathe,” Hardy replied.
“I have been breathing my entire life on my own.”
The court eventually issued a warrant for Hardy’s arrest for not appearing in court on the set trial date.
A waste of court time
Paterson’s reasons for Hardy’s sentence lays out a timeline for several court dates derailed by his “pseudo-legal arguments.”
Paterson made a ruling disallowing Hardy to file documents or make any pseudo-legal arguments at trial, telling him they wasted the court’s time and taxpayers’ money and had no chance of succeeding.
“My ruling made no difference to Hardy,” Paterson’s ruling said.
He seemed more interested in doing what he could stop the trial from proceeding and putting on a show for his numerous acquaintances, the judge said.
The judge said he didn’t order a psychiatric assessment because he found Hardy to be intelligent but an “anti-government ideologue.”