Virtual Ottawa courtroom plagued by interruptions Wednesday

Proceedings in an Ottawa virtual courtroom were repeatedly interrupted on Wednesday. (Danny Globerman/CBC - image credit)
Proceedings in an Ottawa virtual courtroom were repeatedly interrupted on Wednesday. (Danny Globerman/CBC - image credit)

It was a chaotic morning in Ottawa court Wednesday with interruptions affecting proceedings in both in person matters and virtual court.

CBC reporters witnessed Ontario Court of Justice staff restarting a virtual hearing at least twice  after several interruptions by unidentified observers.

People can join virtual courtrooms, which were instituted during the pandemic, via Zoom meeting IDs and passcodes provided by the courthouse.

It's fairly routine for those not directly involved in the proceedings to use titles other than their names, such as "observer" and "civilian," and to mute their microphones and turn off their webcams to avoid interrupting proceedings.

In virtual Ottawa remand court on Wednesday morning, multiple unidentified users joined and played music before being muted and removed by the court clerk at the request of Justice of the Peace Anne Colterman.

Some of the music played in court sounded like Russian choral music, and some of it was electronic.

CBC producer Stephen Hoff said he "hadn't seen any interruptions on this scale in an Ottawa virtual courtroom since the original hearings for Pat King earlier this year."

King was a key figure during Freedom Convoy protest that clogged downtown Ottawa streets for weeks in January and February. He is facing charges of mischief, counselling to commit mischief, counselling to commit the offence of disobeying a court order, counselling to obstruct police, obstructing justice and perjury, and his next court appearance is in early September.

Convoy supporter physically removed from court

Later Wednesday morning, Freedom Convoy supporter Walter Derksen — commonly known as Brian Derksen, "the trucker who never left" — appeared in person in courtroom 14 and repeatedly interrupted Justice of the Peace Colterman, the Crown and the court clerk.

Derksen said God is his lawyer, among other things, and insisted over and over again that he was the Crown.

Views like this are common in the sovereign citizen movement, which claims, among other things, that courts have no jurisdiction over people.

Derksen is charged with obstructing a peace officer and causing a disturbance by being drunk.

Justice of the Peace Colterman finally ordered Derksen to be removed from the courtroom by police. His next appearance is set for early September.