Charlottetown trial takes bizarre twists

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Prince Edward Island provincial court

John James MacLean, 55, of Pleasant Grove Road was up for dangerous driving, not stopping for an accident plus evading police but tries a form of free-man-on-the-land defence

A kind of free-man-on-the-land trial took strange twists in a Charlottetown court Wednesday as a man kept pretending he wasn't on trial, then walked out of the courtroom.

John James MacLean, 55, of Pleasant Grove Road was on trial for charges of dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and evading police in connection with a motor vehicle hit-and-run Jan. 2.

He was in provincial court before Judge Nancy Orr.

MacLean said the trial was a fraud because he wasn't the man named on the informations before the court.

"That's not me," he said.

John James MacLean was just a name on some documents that belonged to the government, a name that he just had the use of, he tried to tell the court.

Several times when the name John James MacLean was referenced he would question who that was, saying it wasn't him.

When he was told "that is you", he would ask the court "who's you?"

For what seemed like a very long time, MacLean tried to argue the issue of his own identity, continually interrupting the Crown and the judge when they tried to say anything he didn't agree with.

Orr repeatedly told MacLean to stop interrupting.

In turn, MacLean repeatedly denied that he was.

"I'm not interrupting, I'm objecting," MacLean said.

Orr tried to tell MacLean that his identity was not an issue, that she had accepted the documentation he himself had provided - including a driver's licence with his picture on it and a birth certificate - as proof that he was indeed John James MacLean.

But he would have none of that.

Over MacLean's continuous objections, Crown Counsel Gerald Quinn identified MacLean as someone who subscribed to the free-man-on-the-land ideology.

"Freemen (or Sovereign Citizens, Living Souls or Natural Persons, as they sometimes call themselves) believe that all ­statute law is contractual," says a briefing note by the Law Society of British Columbia. "They further believe that law only governs them if they choose or consent to be governed. By implication, they believe that, by not consenting, they can hold themselves independent of government jurisdiction."

Quinn read from case law which suggests that courts  attach no merit or weight to ideological arguments advanced by those espousing such views.

Throughout all of this MacLean objected profusely, rising numerous times to speak his mind despite orders from the bench to sit down and let Quinn speak.

Rising from the defence table he told Orr his business was done there and walked out.

MacLean had been duly advised that the trial could proceed without him but that did not deter him.

He essentially told the court to go ahead because he wasn't staying.

Not even a warning from Orr that he could be charged with contempt of court if he left the courtroom could keep him there.

In his absence the trial proceeded and MacLean was ultimately found guilty of all charges.

Testimony presented by police and civilian witnesses indicated that on the night in question, MacLean came off an off-ramp the wrong way and struck another vehicle, causing $5,000 to $6,000 in damages.

He did not stop to see if the driver of the other vehicle was hurt or offer his name and insurance documentation.

Instead he continued on, refusing to stop for police who responded to the accident.

Several vehicles pursued MacLean but they stopped the pursuit after MacLean accelerated to speeds that officers believed could pose a danger to the public.

At Belvedere Avenue and University he was moving at such speed that the front of the car struck the pavement causing sparks to fly.

He narrowly missed a police car by inches.

At one point after being boxed in by police he was able to escape, accelerating while a police officer who stopped him still had his arm inside the window of the car.

None of those who testified had any trouble identifying him.

Orr has now adjourned the case for sentence and issued an order for MacLean's arrest.



Organizations: MacLean's

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Pleasant Grove Road, British Columbia Belvedere Avenue

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

    July 03, 2014 - 23:29

    A Trial is a Very articulated prosecution with equally presumptive exploits that form A Case or the defense.If one goes to the Dr or.Dentist and leaves in the examination stages for any lack of duty other then no confidence in the venue that might render what has been a great victory for examinations has negated remedy or cure in a real operation one cant just get up and walk after a true Account at law

  • Menno
    June 26, 2014 - 21:31

    This made my day. We need to follow this story please.

  • what a clown
    June 26, 2014 - 16:59

    So if I were beat some sense into this guy he wouldn't be able to charge me with assault because he chooses not to be governed? or do these morons think they can pick and choose? He should have been charged with content.

    • haywood jablome
      June 26, 2014 - 20:26

      With what content should he be charged ? How tough are you offering to beat some guy over the internet? Get out of your parents' basement and get some sunshine on that acne of yours.

    • What a clown
      June 27, 2014 - 06:26

      For leaving the courtroom? For interrupting the judge repeatedly? And I was just using that as an example, if something happened to him would he not want the help of the courts? Take it easy and that's a real good description of me haha

  • Dan Aiken
    June 26, 2014 - 13:12

    What a clown. I hope we get further updates on this story. He's hilariously bizarre.

  • Anthony
    June 26, 2014 - 11:15

    Maybe it wasn't this guy at all. It could be Bruce Willis filming another Die Hard movie. Isn't his name John MacLean too..... LOL

  • Tara Ileso
    June 26, 2014 - 10:25

    These individuals who claim to be a " man of the land" may believe they have not consented to being ruled by the Canadian Government and therefore not a Canadian citizen as the law sees a citizen, but do they not fall under Canadian law just as a tourist to Canada would!?

    • don
      June 26, 2014 - 13:50

      if he is not canadian then deport him.

    • don
      June 26, 2014 - 13:57

      I voted for the other guy! i agree with but it would be the governments fault and dianes fault as she seems to want the man to go free. but diane if he hits you please do not call police etc or your insurance company remember this guy is not him. but i wonder if he says the names on his licence is not him then charge him with fraud as he is going under a fake name etc thats federal time.

  • diane
    June 26, 2014 - 10:14

    The TRUTH stands by itself, i wonder why the court has to try make this case to be foolish and frivolous.... The man is not corporation owned .. his BC is but he turned that in Good for you mr MacLean you ARE a free man. and you can stand in your power

    • LA
      June 26, 2014 - 12:26

      Not that your sentence is even coherent, but you seem to be suggesting he's in the right to avoid his crimes. That is ludicrous and if it was you he hit and ran from I am quite positive your tune, such as it is, would change.

    • I voted for the other guy!
      June 26, 2014 - 12:42

      So because he turned in his birth certificate (BC), he is no longer guilty of dangerous driving? Great theory! Diane, what happens when he goes for another licence or drives without one? And... hits you or someone you know? I know I know. It'll be the 'corporations' fault.

    • diane
      June 26, 2014 - 17:48

      now if i may finish without being cut off common law, it is no victim no crime in this case there is a victim if it can be proven

    • I voted for the other guy!
      June 28, 2014 - 05:10

      Diane, I didn't realize I cut you off. Fortunately, common law has no bearing in the courts.

  • I Have Substandard Driving Skills, Therefore I am
    June 26, 2014 - 07:36

    What does "you" really mean anyway? Are we really even "here"? Just because my name and description match the person on your fancy court documents, I'm supposed to believe you? This guy's philosophical defense strategy is blowing the Crown's mind.

    • Ryan Gallant
      June 26, 2014 - 12:55

      This is perhaps the best comment I have ever read on The Guardian website.

  • mad as hell
    June 26, 2014 - 04:52

    Obviously - for the sake of public safety - we should ban cars.

  • Judge Judy
    June 25, 2014 - 22:42

    The obviously never read the Cyril Sneer story! Lol

  • Chris
    June 25, 2014 - 22:19

    The straw man has come to the island. Islanders beware of frivolous law suits, violent confrontations with police, land scams and paper crimes , to name a few. This ideology empowers uneducated and simple minded folks that any level of government, excluding a sheriff , have no authority over them. This liar and coward should have been held in contempt and arrested before walking out of the court room. This straw man not only needs a heart but a brain.

  • what
    June 25, 2014 - 21:06

    PEI has off ramps?

  • Joe Doe
    June 25, 2014 - 20:12


  • The Sceptic
    June 25, 2014 - 20:09

    That has got to be the most comical story I have read in this paper . The straw man has left the court room .