An extremely patient Queensland police officer has been praised online for his tact, when dealing with a man who insisted he could not legally be breathalysed until he was shown a ‘proclamation certificate’ signed by the Queen.
The driver recorded his tense conversation with the officer, the clip has since received millions of views online.
The conversation goes for about 10 minutes, and shows the driver testing the police officer’s patience by demanding to know if he was under arrest while repeatedly refusing to blow into the breathalyser.
“You can be under arrest if you want,” the officer informs the man, while explaining that drivers are legally required to provide samples for road side breath tests.
“Has it been through the upper house, the lower house, and she’s (the Queen) enacted it?” The driver demands to know.
Queensland has a unicameral parliamentary system, meaning it only has one house. The Queen’s representative, the governor, must sign off legislation passed in Queensland.
Eventually the officer appears to give up, but hinted that it may not be the end of the matter.
“We’ll be seeing later on, Mr Summer,” he said, after the driver refused to tell the police officer his full name, insisting: “I am a man and I’m called many things”.
The officer kept his promise and the 33-year-old Sunshine Coast man was ordered to appear in a Noosa Court next month after police tracked him down four days later.
A police spokesman said the man, from Pomona, would be asked to answer to charges over his failure to provide a breath sample when he was stopped on Elm Street, Cooroy, on November 10.
He has been ordered to appear in court on December 13.
Refusing a roadside breath test in Queensland is punishable by 40 demerit points, a fine of $4000 or six months in jail.
The exchange bears the hallmarks of the ‘sovereign citizens’ movement, a fringe political belief system which has been gathering pace around the world in recent years, and causing headaches for legal officers of all stripes.
Clips of people denying police authority have become increasingly popular online and frequently feature questions such as “Am I being detained” or “Am I under arrest” as police conduct routine duties.
Sovereign citizens are also known to refer to themselves as “free men on the land”, and have taken particular offense at the world's traffic police, who they believe illegally impede their rights to travel freely.
Many supporters believe governments to be illegal conspiracies that use their citizens for financial leverage.
Last year, counter-terrorism police in Australia said they had identified about 300 sovereign citizens, with a confidential report uncovered by the ABC, suggesting police considered the movement a potential security risk.
The latest video was uploaded to Facebook by a user called Brett White, who told readers he did not film the conversation but had found it on another page.
It has been seen almost three million times since Monday.
Top news stories - November 16