True to his word, 44-year-old Mika Rasila didn't return to a St. Catharines courtroom to be tried for several Highway Traffic Act charges.
And true to its word, the court went ahead with the trial anyway.
Rasila failed to show up for his Tuesday hearing to face six charges stemming from his Jan. 28 arrest in St. Catharines. At that time, he was charged with six traffic infractions ranging from driving under suspension to not having proper licence plates.
Three of the charges were dropped Tuesday, but after hearing the testimony of the arresting police officer, the presiding justice of the peace convicted Rasila of driving with a suspended licence, not having proper licence plates on his vehicle and using a hand-held camera while driving.
Rasila was fined $1,250.
Kingston police Const. Dan Attwood, formerly of the Niagara Regional Police, testified he pulled a van over on Clark St. having received information the driver was operating with a suspended licence. When he asked the driver for identification, Attwood said the man handed over a piece of paper titled Notice of Intent and Understanding.
Attwood then arrested him. He was able to determine the driver was Rasila when he found an Ontario health card in Rasila's wallet, the court heard.
Attwood said he also saw Rasila set up a video camera on the dashboard of his van while he was being pulled over, to film his arrest. The video was later posted on YouTube.
Rasila last appeared in court in March when the trial date was set. At that time, he said he would not return and the court warned him the trial would go ahead in absentia if he wasn't there.
When the trial began, the justice of the peace called NRP Const. Jack Gill, a support officer in the court, to the stand to explain what had happened during Rasila's last appearance.
Gill said a man stood up when the name Mika Rasila was called, but refused to be identified by that name.
"He is one of those people who call themselves freemen of the land, I think, and they don't believe the laws of Canada apply to them," Gill said.
After the March court date, Rasila told The Standard he prefers to be referred to as "Mika of the family Rasila," and said those who are part of his movement believe they lose their rights if they enter into "government contracts" and so don't carry identification or pay taxes.
Although he did not appear in court Tuesday, an Oct. 12 post on Facebook page of the Freemen of Canada under his name claimed he has abandoned all "forms of government contract," including his health card, for the "corporate legal fiction known as Mika P. Rasila."
Calling Attwood a "mercenary employee of the corporation Canada" who stole Rasila's van, the posting contained a warning of an upcoming battle.
"There is in fact a war coming and we the people have had enough," it says. "You can make the decision to side with the common law or continue as you are."