Alleged Freeman guilty of resisting arrest
Court: Defendant states he was fored into servitude
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 06:00 am
A 40-year-old Millarville area man denied he was a follower of the Freemen of the Land movement while being sentenced for resisting arrest.
Darren Murray Clifford, who went by Darren Murray Murphy at court proceedings, was sentenced to one day in custody and given credit for 10 days served at Okotoks provincial court on Nov. 20 in connection with a resisting arrest charge.
He was found not guilty of assault.
Clifford, who represented himself and was wearing ankle shackles at the defence table, said there has been no evidence presented “that I am associated with this Freemen thing.”
However, during opening comments Clifford used rhetoric similar to what members of the Freemen movement, who believe they are exempt from government authority, have used in the past.
“I do not consent to be associated with the legal person under the terms and conditions of the birth certificate especially at the times of the alleged complaint,” Clifford told the court.
He identified himself as “Darren Murray Murphy, son of David Clifford and grandson of William Clifford.”
The charges stem from an altercation between now retired RCMP Const. Tom Christie and Clifford after the accused was stopped for outstanding warrants while driving his Hummer just off Plummers Road near Millarville on June 17, 2012.
Clifford initially got out of his truck but after a brief struggle was able to get back into the driver’s seat.
Christie said he attempted at least three times to get Clifford out of the Hummer by grabbing him “by the scruff of the neck,” (below the chin, at the top of the t-shirt)…. “He punched my hand away.”
Clifford’s t-shirt was ripped and Christie received bruising on his left wrist during the altercation. Christie removed Clifford from the vehicle and said the accused continued to be aggressive.
“I feared for my safety and used my Taser,” Christie said, who was then able to transfer Clifford to the Turner Valley RCMP detachment.
Christie said during the trip to Turner Valley, Clifford was “friendly and compliant and we had a pleasant conversation.”
Christie said he believed Clifford was a member of the Freeman of the Land Movement.
“He told me he didn’t recognize me as having any authority,” Christie said. “And that his billing rate was $1 million-an-hour (to perform the arrest).”
A video taken from the RCMP truck of the altercation was presented to court.
Judge Patrick McIlhargey said the video showed Christie “was extremely patient and very careful.”
During final arguments Clifford asked McIlhargey if Christie had to produce the search warrant in order to make the arrest. As well, he added Christie failed to identify himself after being asked 25 times.
Crown prosecutor Luke Faught argued, with the use of a previous ruling, officers do not need an actual copy of the warrant to act on them. Faught added the punching of Christie’s wrists was enough to be considered assault.
McIlhargey agreed with Faught regarding the warrant issues, stating an officer can act if he believes a warrant has been issued. He added with Christie being in full RCMP uniform and driving a well-marked RCMP vehicle, identification was not an issue.
However, he dismissed the assault charge stating the punching of Christie’s wrist was a reflexive action.
Faught requested one year of probation and any counselling recommended by a probation officer for Clifford.
Clifford requested he not be placed on probation claiming he did not possess a valid driver’s licence. In addition he felt the recommendation was based on the belief he was a Freeman.
McIlhargey did not place Clifford on probation. Clifford remains in custody in relation to other charges.