Quebec doctor who declared herself sovereign citizen to avoid taxes heads to appeal court
A Quebec family doctor who justified her decision to not pay taxes by claiming to be part of a sovereign citizen movement is appealing a court ruling that went against her.
In a judgment last November, Dr. Christine Banville was ordered to pay $7,500 in damages to the province's revenue agency, which was seeking more than $147,000 in unpaid taxes for 2014 and 2015 combined.
Banville had invoked arguments in line with those of the Freeman on the Land, whose members believe laws don't apply to them.
The Quebec Court of Appeal will hear arguments Monday.
Neither Banville, a doctor near Quebec City, nor her lawyer could be reached for comment Friday.
Similar cases have cropped up in other Canadian jurisdictions in what the courts sometimes refer to as ``paper terrorism'' aimed at the misuse of legal processes.
In an effort to have charges withdrawn or dismissed, claimants attempt to overwhelm the courts with a hodgepodge of fake documents that have no legal basis.
In her ruling, Quebec court Judge Genevieve Cotnam wrote that what was particularly troubling was that the plaintiff, as a doctor, was remunerated by the state with taxes paid by fellow citizens.
``She has no qualms about being remunerated by the state, but refuses to contribute by (not) producing her own tax declarations,'' Cotnam wrote.
In her ruling, the judge said it was clear that Banville's motion was abusive and it was important to note the impact on state resources.
The case also required the moblization of a judge, a clerk, a bailiff, a special constable and a courtroom for almost a half day.
When asked by the court, Banville replied she saw nothing strange in her arguments and that she was well within her rights as she quoted from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Constitution.
``I always paid my taxes until I learned I didn't have to pay, that I had rights,'' the judgment quoted Banville as saying.
Revenu Quebec spokeswoman Genevieve Laurier said she couldn't comment on the matter before the courts, but said it's not the first Freeman on the Land case the agency has had to deal with.
The FBI considers the movement a domestic terror threat in the United States and previous estimates have pegged the number of freemen in Canada at 30,000.