Why trying to persuade a judge that the authority of the law doesn’t apply to you isn’t such a good court tactic

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By Alex Aldridge on

Since enjoying a flurry of publicity after this memorable attempt to arrest a judge (see below) during the Occupy Movement, the freemen-on-the-land movement — which claims that law is applicable only if an individual consents to be governed by it — has been relatively quiet. But a case this week in Kent provided a reminder that the law-deniers haven’t gone away…

Having been convicted at a magistrates court in July of failing to give information about the driver of a vehicle caught speeding on camera — an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 — IT worker Timothy Ollerenshaw, 53, decided to appeal his case on the grounds that there is no evidence that the law applies to him.

Ollerenshaw, who is believed to be a freeman, began his appeal this week at Canterbury Crown Court by giving the bench a document which Judge James O’Mahony described as “legal nonsense”.

Then, after being challenged about his failure to properly complete a form that he received as the registered keeper of a car caught speeding on camera last year — which required him to give the name of the driver if it wasn’t him — Ollerenshaw responded: “I have not seen any evidence which says that the law is applicable to me.”

Ollerenshaw had apparently returned forms with comments such as “I have no international contract with you,” “I do not recognise you” and “I do not understand your intent” written on the envelopes.

Later, when asked what his defence was, Ollerenshaw replied: “I have no defence. The burden of proof is on the prosecution.”

To which the infuriated judge responded that he was “perfectly aware of that,” adding: “I rule that the Road Traffic Act is applicable to you, the same as it is to anyone else.”

He then upheld the magistrates’ prior decision to fine Ollerenshaw £750 and give him six penalty points on his licence, while adding another £450 onto his costs bill, which now stands at over £1,000.