Cayuga man who acted as rogue, unlicensed notary faces BC court date
Posted by Zig Zag
By Dan Fumano, The Province, February 27, 2015
VANCOUVER — A Vancouver man who allegedly acted as a rogue, unlicensed notary officiating documents for Freemen-on-the-Land and others in B.C. is set to appear in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday.
The Society of Notaries Public of B.C. (SNPBC) has filed a court application saying a man named Sino General could “pose a threat to the public as a result of his unlawful activities.”
According to court filings, General, also known as Hajistahénhway and Chief Rock, has witnessed and notarized — without legal Canadian authority — everything from people’s financial disputes, to legal matters, to declarations appointing peace officers.
The SNPBC obtained a court order in November 2013, demanding General cease and desist, but the society alleges he has since breached the terms of that injunction by continuing to hold himself out as a notary, and is in contempt of civil court.
As a Native of the Cayuga First Nation, General says he is exempt from Canadian laws. If a judge rules he is in contempt of civil court, he could face a fine and possible imprisonment.
General said he witnessed documents for British Columbians, including adherents of the anti-government Freeman-on-the-Land movement, who found they were unable to get their documents notarized by licensed B.C. notaries.
“That created what I’m doing, because people were getting turned away (by notaries), a lot of people who were just doing paperwork, affidavits, to claim their freedom and claim different rights. People who want to be sovereign or people who were labelled Freemen,” General said. “They said they prefer working with Native people than they would working with the Notaries Society, because they’ve been refused so many times.”
General plans to represent himself in Friday’s hearing, where he will point to treaties in place for centuries between government and First Nations.
Lisa Monchalin, a Kwantlen Polytechnic University professor of criminology who plans to attend court Friday, believes General has a valid point about jurisdiction, saying: “International law applies here, not Canadian law, and Canadian courts do not have jurisdiction here.”
The SNPBC alleges General is an Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument (OPCA) litigant, a legal term for a category of vexatious litigants, including the Freeman movement.
The term was defined in a landmark 2012 ruling in Alberta that provided an extensive overview of the Freemen, Sovereign Citizens and similar groups, trying to help “eradicate the growing abuse that these litigants direct towards the justice and legal system.” In that decision, Associate Chief Justice John Rooke wrote that OPCA litigants may or may not claim affiliation with those groups, and noted these litigants: “will only honour state, regulatory, contract, family, fiduciary, equitable and criminal obligations if they feel like it. And typically, they don’t.”
While General said he has helped Freemen and agrees with some of their ideas, he disputes the description of himself as a Freeman or an OPCA litigant.
But David Georgetti, the lawyer retained by the SNPBC for Friday’s contempt hearing, said: “The documents Sino was purporting to quote-unquote ‘notarize’ are consistent with those commonly associated with the Freeman movement.”
Affidavits connected with the case include documents stamped and signed by Hajistahénhway, bearing several hallmarks of Freeman documents: thumbprints, arcane Latin phrases and demands for large amounts of money.
One of the documents purportedly notarized by General appears to be a court order made “before Adjudicator Hajistahénhway” and signed by Hajistahénhway, ordering the defendant, the Haisla Nation Council, to pay the plaintiff “$100,000,000 in fine one ounce silver bullion 99.9 per cent and/or the equivalent in the lawful currency of the day.”
Roger D. McConchie, lawyer for the Haisla Nation, said he received a series of documents seemingly notarized, stamped and signed by Hajistahénhway.
“I got some incoherent, bizarre gibberish delivered to my office several times,” McConchie said. “It’s obviously, to someone who knows the legal system anyway, less authentic than Monopoly money.”
A commercial lawyer in Vancouver who reviewed some of the case material said the documents purportedly notarized by General had “an equal amount” of legal authority as a napkin. However, he added, “it’s definitely less useful than a napkin. At least you can do something with a napkin.”
General said he took on notary work in order to help people, not for money.
Ron Usher, general counsel for the SNPBC, said they have no way of knowing whether or not General earned a profit from notarizing documents. But, he said, similar self-styled “gurus” sometimes do earn a handsome profit, usually from charging for seminars and services for those looking to get out of debt or legal woes.
In the days after a seminar, Usher said, the province’s notaries are inundated with people demanding to have bizarre documents signed, and “often, it appears to be fairly desperate people who spent their last $400 on a weekend seminar to learn how to avoid all their debts if they just get this magic document signed.”
OPCA litigants and “gurus” remain a persistent nuisance for the courts, said Michael Kleisinger, unauthorized practice counsel for the Law Society of B.C.
The Law Society is aware of General, but has received no complaints of him acting as a lawyer, Kleisinger said. But the society often has to deal with self-styled “gurus” and their followers, “when they represent people or try to sell their magic beans.”
“The guru comes and says, ‘I can get you out of paying your mortgage or you don’t have to pay your taxes’ … And the guru provides them with legal services or advice, and then we go after the guru, too.”
The arguments of these OPCA “gurus,” Kleisinger said, “never work. Never. They leave a trail of rubble behind them every time.”