Courtroom rabble rouser granted internet access in jail

That access is intended to help Louie build his case in defence of several charges for gun smuggling

In order to build his case, a man who is representing himself and whose pretrial proceedings have been marked by resistance and bluster will be granted the use of internet in the Okanagan Correctional Centre, where he’s being held.

Alex Louie was arrested on Feb. 1 this year after allegedly attempting to smuggle two handguns into the country. The Canadian Border Security Agency said border agents found a pair of Hi-Point CF-380 handguns in his vehicle, despite his claim that he had no weapons at the border crossing.

Since his arrest Louie has been in custody, with court appearances marked by verbal attempts to arrest the judge and Crown lawyers for the “cultural genocide of (his) people,” a tune Louie continued to hum during a Monday morning scheduling hearing.

“We’re dealing with eight counts, here, an eight-count indictment dealing with importing—” Justice Gary Weatherill began while Louie cited “the theft of land” of First Nations people, among other issues.

“I’m here to deal with you, and I’m here to deal with the Crown when it comes to subject matter jurisdiction of the assumed trust relationship that you guys continue to assume, this de facto relationship,” Louie rebutted.

“You need to understand where your jurisdiction comes from. It comes from the enforced registration of a person in the name of Alex Louie, which is based on cultural genocide of a people.”

Related: Man calls for judge’s arrest, gets trial date

Louie is to undergo trial for two counts each of the unauthorized import of firearms, exchanging, selling or purchasing illegally imported goods, smuggling goods into Canada and possessing firearms without a licence or registration, along with one count of a false or deceptive statement on the import of goods.

Representing himself, Louie told the court that he had some documents he wished to provide the judge and Crown counsel, noting that without access to the internet, he has been impeded in his access to resources. Holding up inch-thick stacks of papers for the judge, the Crown and himself, he said he was also forced to handwrite each of his submissions.

“This is four or five months of writing. I have to write it three times, and I have to do drafts, so I have to write it … four or five times before and end product comes out,” Louie said. “The unfortunate reality is I don’t have the access like you guys have. You guys have all the law libraries, all the annotated versions of courtroom procedures.”

Weatherill asked Louie if he had access to legal aid, but Louie said he didn’t need it.

“When it comes to legal aid, there again, the oath that you guys swear, you guys don’t work for us. You do not protect our interest,” he said. “I don’t need help; I need access.”

Louie told the court he had asked “on numerous occasions” for access to the Internet but said he has been denied that access. Weatherill said he believed the OCC, “a brand new facility,” should have access to the internet.

“I’ve made the order that you’re entitled to have access to the internet for that purpose, for the purpose of defending yourself in this case,” Weatherill said. “You should be able to get that information you seek within reason to defend these charges.”

The fix-date hearing for Louie was put off until Tuesday morning, with Crown counsel pushing for a late-August trial date. The trial is expected to run four to five days.