Halifax couple demand trial in foreign country

Jun. 8, 2004. 01:11 PM

HALIFAX A couple involved in a lengthy police standoff last month say they'd get a fairer trial in Iraq than in Canada, and they want Nova Scotia courts to send them there.

"We'll seek bail in The Hague," the man said in court yesterday.

"We'll go to any country in the world, including Iraq. Anywhere to seek bail in a fair and impartial tribunal, which we've never gotten here."

Some media outlets have not identified the couple because the case involves a child apprehension order.

The man appeared in court on what was supposed to be a bail hearing.

"My wife and I will be asking to be put in the custody of the United Nations, and to be put on trial in The Hague for the criminal abuse of children by the bar ... and the judiciary," he said.

The 50-year-old husband and his 41-year-old wife were charged with unlawful confinement, obstructing justice and violating a child apprehension order. The man is also charged with pointing and firing a 12-gauge shotgun at four peace officers, careless use of a firearm, and unlawful possession of a weapon for which he had no permit.

The man's long speeches in court have become the norm since the couple's arrest on May 21, the last day of the standoff.

Yesterday, he complained of a "cabal-like" conspiracy by authorities. He said he's been denied access to pencils and paper and can't speak to his wife.

"All we ever asked for was political asylum. We were cornered, boxed, intimidated and terrorized," he told Judge Reg Kimball.

Kimball listened for a while, then told him his UN request wasn't possible. Then he urged the couple repeatedly to hire lawyers.

"I know you think you can do it yourselves, but you can't," Kimball said, telling the man his courtroom speeches could give the Crown ammunition against him.

"You're making a lot of mistakes that could incriminate yourselves. You shouldn't do it."

The husband argued he hadn't had time to prepare for a bail hearing, so the couple were due to return to court sometime today