What should be a routine, cut and dry marijuana production case in Winnipeg quickly grew into a quirky, long day at trial Monday.
The accused, Scott Peters, could be seen as part of the Freemen on the Land movement that claims laws are only applicable if a person consents to them. This view is part of the reason Peters chose to self-represent against his production of marijuana charge.
In court, Peters was wearing a camouflage fanny pack and his hair pulled back in a long ponytail. His outfit was a stark contrast to the Crown prosecutors Michael Foote and Laura Perron in their neat lawyer gowns.
Peters stood in the courtroom for the entire closing comments to the jury and periodically took notes on his clipboard with a purple pen. When he wasn’t talking, he pulled a string from his sweater into his mouth and chewed it, leaving a part on his beard.
The Crown took about 10 minutes to say their final words while Peters took more than an hour and a half. Justice Robert Dewar from the Court of Queen’s Bench called a break in the middle of Peter’s address so the jury could take a moment to refresh.
Instead of addressing some of the charges against him, Peters took the time to rant about the government and how it is “controlling people.”
“It’s a scam. We need to stop feeding the scam,” he said. “It is organized coercion.”
Peters was frustrated with the judicial process.
“I asked … if I was going to be able to face my accuser and was told ‘absolutely’ so where is he or she? I see on this piece of paper it says something about Her Majesty the Queen, so who is this Mr. or Mrs. Her Majesty the Queen? I have nobody to put on the stand.”
Peters, 45, has been charged with producing marijuana and faces a maximum sentence of fourteen years in prison. Crown prosecutor Foote said Peters likely won’t get the maximum.
The marijuana plants were found when Winnipeg police officers had a search warrant for Peters’ home on the 400-block of Boyd Ave. on an unrelated offence and found the fifty-eight marijuana plants on April 27, 2012.
Peters said he has dystopia, a painful muscle condition, and marijuana is used to medicate it.
The jury only needed a couple of hours to reach a guilty verdict on Tuesday. Peters will be sentenced on Feb. 18.