Aboriginal man not exempt from Sask. traffic laws, judge rules
A man who says he's a member of the "Indian Nation of Turtle Island" is not exempt from Saskatchewan traffic tickets, a Regina judge has ruled.
Queen's Bench Justice Peter Whitmore made the ruling earlier this month in the case of Steven Agecoutay. The decision was made public online on Thursday.
In 2006 and 2007, Agecoutay was charged with nine traffic offences, including speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and driving an unregistered motor vehicle.
He argued that because he is a member of the Indian Nation of Turtle Island, a Saskatchewan traffic safety court was out of its jurisdiction trying to prosecute him. After his challenge was thrown out by a provincial court judge, he appealed to the Court of Queen's Bench.
Dismissing the appeal, Whitmore sent the charges back to traffic court for a trial.
"The appellant is not exempt from obeying the laws of Saskatchewan," Whitmore said in the four-page decision.
"Turtle Island" is a name used by some people to describe North America.
The term came up in a drug trial in Regina last year in which three men were charged in connection with a large marijuana grow operation on Pasqua First Nation.
The judge sentenced all three men to prison terms. One of the three, Lawrence Agecoutay, had argued he was an ancestral chief of the "Anishinabe Nation of Turtle Island" and Canadian drug laws didn't apply.