A pre-trial hearing this week was told that Nelson’s Dr. Warren Fischer is accused of evading about $66,000 in income taxes over three years.
Federal prosecutor Nils Preshaw told Judge Lisa Mrozinski in Nelson Provincial Court on Wednesday the Crown plans to call about 20 witnesses. He also revealed the amount Fischer is alleged not to have paid.
Fischer was given until March 29 to submit any preliminary motions, and the Crown until April 12 to respond.
Fischer, who asked to be addressed Wednesday as “Fischer Beneficiary,” declined to accept disclosure documents and said he wanted to settle the matter.
“You have all the evidence here. I’m here today. Why can’t we do it?” he asked.
“Because it’s not the trial date,” Mrozinski replied. “Other individuals are going to have their opportunity in court today. You’ll have your day in court on April 22. I know you’re looking forward to that.”
Fischer, co-founder of the Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences, was charged in March of last year and has made three previous court appearances.
He previously said he was an ambassador of the Sovereign Squamish Nation, which claims “freedom from taxes pursuant to legislated common law jurisdiction governance.”
Courts have consistently rejected this argument, also known as the freeman or natural person defence. Adherents believe statute law is contractual and applies only if a person consents to it.
In 2006, former Nelson dentist Dr. Eva Sydel was convicted of nine counts relating to failure to report almost $1 million in income. She argued that as a natural person, she wasn’t bound by the Income Tax Act.
Sydel was sentenced to 18 months in jail and fined over $244,000. She served out her jail sentence but appealed her conviction, arguing she was the victim of a conspiracy of Freemasons and Jews.
Sydel was a disciple of Chilliwack’s Russell Porisky, who last May was sentenced to 4½ years in jail for counselling hundreds of people not to pay their income tax using the natural person theory.