A self-proclaimed ambassador to Israel who was originally charged with assaulting police is pushing British Columbia's Crown prosecution service to weigh criminal allegations, including kidnapping, against two Mounties.
Neil MacKenzie, a spokesman for B.C.'s Criminal Justice Branch, said in an interview that prosecutors are now assessing allegations raised by Andrew Fidler during a private prosecution launched in Burns Lake provincial court.
Fidler initially alleged 63 counts against three officers, including torture, arrest of an officiating clergyman, attack on the transport of an internationally protected person and crimes against humanity.
But in an August 2014 ruling, provincial court Judge Christine Birnie allowed only assault and kidnapping allegations to continue against two of the three officers under a private-prosecution procedure under Canada's Criminal Code.
MacKenzie said a court appearance for the two officers was expected to be set for Aug. 4, but would likely be adjourned "to provide Crown some additional time to complete a charge assessment."
The RCMP declined to comment on the proceedings, referring media inquiries to prosecutors.
The allegations emerged when Fidler appealed the lower court decision to B.C. Supreme Court, asking that all charges be allowed to go ahead.
In a ruling posted online Tuesday, Justice Arne Silverman refused to reinstate all 63 charges, but didn't interfere with the kidnapping and assault allegations against the officers.
A publication ban prohibits the identification of the officers.
Silverman's ruling said the complaints arise out of an incident in which police stopped Fidler for driving a truck without licence plates.
Fidler told officers he didn't need licence plates because the truck was not a commercial vehicle, after which police told him they were going to impound the vehicle, the ruling noted "Mr. Fidler considered that an attempt to steal his vehicle," the ruling said. "A window was broken by the officer's baton."
The ruling said Fidler then drove to an uncle's property, two more officers arrived and what followed was witnessed by a woman.
"There was violence," said the ruling. "Mr. Fidler attempted to arrest one of the officers. The officers eventually restrained Mr. Fidler, arrested him and transported him to the police station."
The Crown subsequently stayed assault charges against Fidler.
"The two approved assault charges against the two RCMP officers arise from the violence at those premises," the judge said. "The kidnapping charges relate to the officers confining and transporting Mr. Fidler in the police car against his will to the police station on the theory that there were no grounds, proper grounds, for the arrest."
Silverman backed the lower court's decision to stop dozens of allegations from proceeding through the court.
"I should indicate that the charges which many of us in the criminal justice business have never seen laid before involving an officiating clergyman, an internationally protected person, and crimes against humanity, refer to Mr. Fidler's self-proclaimed status as a clergyman and an ambassador to the Commonwealth of Israel," said Silverman.
Silverman noted some of the remarks that Fidler made in court, including personal insults and conspiracy theories, "were not very useful," but he accepted a written apology from the man.
MacKenzie said the Crown in B.C. generally won't permit a private prosecution to proceed, noting the Crown Counsel Act gives the Criminal Justice Branch the authority to approve and conduct prosecutions.
"We will usually take conduct of the prosecution and we either continue with it if we conclude it's appropriate or we direct a stay of proceedings after we've made the charge-assessment decision," he said.