Judge Denies Defendant Audio Transcript in Income Tax Trial
Updated: Sep 5
July 24th, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Yesterday afternoon in a Kelowna courtroom, the Defendant in an ongoing prosecution by the Canada Revenue Agency for failing to file tax returns, was denied the audio recording from the trial's first day by Provincial Court Judge, Robin Smith. The Defendant's agent, Steven James Merrill, attempted to obtain the audio recording on the basis that the written transcript from a previous court battle with Canada's taxman in 2014 had been altered and that he did not wish for the testimony of the Crown's lone witness in this case to be "memory holed." Merrill also submitted that the Crown's witness, a six year veteran of the CRA's non-filer division in Penticton, had intentionally misled the court in his testimony last Monday and potentially perjured himself, and that he was seeking the audio version of the transcript so that he may discuss the agent's statements with a lawyer. Additionally, Merrill stated that the cost to produce a written transcript of the trial proceedings is expensive and slow, estimated at $1500 by the Attorney General's local contractor JC Word Assist, a far cry from the $27 charged by the Kelowna Law Clerk for the audio file, which is readily available. Judge Smith ruled that Merrill was only entitled to listen to the recording within the confines of the law library's single computer, and was "not" to make a copy, stating further that he did not wish for it to "end up on the internet." Judge Smith also stated that he was aware that Merrill had made a phone recording from the trials's arraignment hearing on March 6th. Merrill replied that Smith was mistaken, admitting that he "had" a recording from the hearing, but he did not "make" the recording himself, adding that the recording was in fact "made" by a friend who had witnessed the hearing. Interestingly, the March 6th arraignment required a full day of court time and two recesses. Arraignment hearings generally require just a few minutes to read the charges, enter a plea, and set a date for trial. Merrill says the Judge has shown a complete disregard for the status he has claimed both at the arraignment and at the trial, arguing that the definition of a "taxpayer" in the ACT is clearly defined as a corporation, and that he, as a bleeding, blinking, bleeding man is the legal representative for the entity, a creation of Government and not of God. Merrill also claims that his written demands for the Crown's Attorney, Francois Lepine and Michael Ledressay, to provide a clear statement of the jurisdiction in which they are proceeding, has fallen upon deaf ears. When Merrill queried the Judge at the arraignment to direct Lepine to speak to the jurisdiction, he refused, offering instead that the matter was "quasi" criminal in nature. Since the arraignment, Merrill says he has asked the CRA's attorneys to provide the rules of procedure for a quasi criminal matter, but again there has been no response. Merrill believes there are no rules of procedure published anywhere and that "quasi" criminal is code for a kangaroo or secret court.
The Judge twice ordered Merrill be taken into custody last Monday, apparently for contempt. Merrill states that on 2nd occasion he was physically and verbally assaulted by three Sheriffs, and then handcuffed for 30 minutes during the lunch break. Merrill said he is considering making an application for the audio transcript in front of a different Judge, and also exploring a method to have the Judge removed from the case. Anyone wishing to listen to the audio transcript themselves can do so by appearing at the Kelowna Law Courts Records Desk and ask to listen to the trial proceedings for Court File #91448-1 (Regina v. Merrill) from July 13th, 2020. A piece of ID is required. Merrill advises to bring your own headphones as the ones provided by the Court are "crap."
The trial is set to continue August 4th.