Norfolk tax dodger arrested... after writing to Queen
A council tax dodger was arrested outside a Norwich court yesterday following a dramatic stand-off with officials because he claimed he was not a UK citizen and not liable to pay tax.
Mark Bond owes two years' council tax to Broadland District Council totalling �2,211.
But the 44-year-old, who calls himself a 'Freeman-on-the-Land' and goes under the name Mark of the Family Bond, does not accept he is liable to pay the council tax.
Yesterday he was dramatically arrested outside the magistrates' court building as he took a cigarette break.
Police told him that he was under arrest and that he would be detained in the cells before he was brought before the judge later that day.
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Before he was led to the cells, he asked police under what authority he was being arrested and handed them a notice of intent stating that he was no longer a UK citizen. He told police that the notice had already been handed to the Queen and prime minister David Cameron.
He then told police: 'I will come peacefully but it's under protest. I do not agree to this.'
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He had earlier arrived at court under summons to face a charge of failure to pay his council tax.
Standing outside the entrance to Court No 2, he refused to enter until District Judge Philip Browning answered his question: 'Can I enter this court with my God-given, inalienable rights intact?'
Mr Browning did not reply to the question so Bond declined to enter the court room.
Mr Browning then said that if Bond stayed outside he would deal with the case in his absence, and he issued a warrant for his arrest without bail.
Speaking to the Evening News outside the court building, Bond said that he was willing to go to jail for his beliefs.
The odd job man, who works from his home at Moulton St Mary, near Acle, said that he had paid taxes in the past, but had recently joined the 'Freeman-on-the-Land' group, which was a worldwide organisation of people who had revoked consent to be governed by human laws.
He said: 'At no time have I refused to pay the council tax. I have written to Broadland for proof of the bill, but it has ignored my request and just said that 'You are going to pay'.
'Today I asked the judge to walk into the court under common law and not commercial law. If I had entered under commercial law it would prove that I accepted its law. I was denied my rights to go in there.
'All councils and courts are private, profit-making organisations. and it's all a money-making scam.'
Bond said that his partner, Beverley Clarke thought he was 'mad' when he first told her of his new beliefs, but she had now accepted his views.
When he appeared in custody later in the day, representing himself, he accepted 'under duress' that he owed the council tax money, but said that he had no income and did not claim any benefits, as he was no longer a UK citizen.
He was handed a suspended three-month jail sentence on condition that he pay �20 a week off the debt.
A Broadland Council spokesman said afterwards that Bond had sent several letters to the council asking for information about why he was liable to pay the council tax.
The council said that written replies had been made to all these letters, apart from the last, which was received on Tuesday. Because of the nearness to the court date, an officer telephoned Bond.
There were previous, preliminary court hearings in March and September to establish that Bond did owe the money, a council spokesman said.
Broadland's local taxation manager, Simon Quilter, who prosecuted Bond in court, said: 'Several officers have spoken to Mr Bond and explained the help he could re-ceive if he has trouble paying the bill, although we are not aware that this is the case. We will always try and help people if they have difficulty, but at the end of the day, if they choose not to pay, they will end up in court.'
According to the FMOTL.com website, being a freeman means freedom from police intimidation and harassment, freedom from law courts, and freedom from tax bills, etc.
It claims that a Freeman-on-the-land isn't someone who remains outside the law, so it is not a proposition for anarchy.
The website continues: 'But - it all depends on what is meant by 'law'. And that's the catch. What you have grown up to assume is 'the law' is not, in point of fact, the law. That's The Grand Deception. Once you know the deception, and what the law actually is, you'll realise how the wool has been firmly and deliberately pulled over your eyes.'
Freemen-of-the-land have previously challenged court cases across the country and some have even videotaped proceedings, posting the results on YouTube.