A PEMBROKESHIRE businessman’s “unusual beliefs” saw him spend 22 days in prison, locked up alongside murderers, after refusing to accept a policeman’s authority in a simple speeding case.
The case involving Doug Jones, of the Old Defenceable Barracks in Pembroke Dock, escalated after Mr Jones refused to take a breath test.
Mr Jones had told the police officer that he did not give consent to be governed by him.
Mr Jones told the Western Telegraph that although he still believed in a free society and laws stemming from the magna carta, he would not be trying the same tactics again in future.
Mr Jones, who is currently transforming the impressive Barracks into a family home and holiday accommodation, appeared in court on Wednesday, August 29th.
The father-of-three was due to face trial for refusing to provide a specimen of breath but entered a guilty plea.
In court Mr Jones, aged 50, was said to have told the police officer: “I live by the magna carta, I refuse to be governed by you”.
Mr Jones later said this account was wrong, although he did not correct the court at the time.
He said: “I’ve read up a bit on the magna carta and have been studying contract law, which is what the court deals in. It states in the magna carta no police officer or sheriff can have governance over you unless you give consent.
I said I don’t give you consent to govern, they got a bit shirty and I dug my heels in, which I probably shouldn’t have.
“They arrested me that night, bundled me into court the next day and I was still digging my heels in. I asked about the oath of office and whether I could see it and that got me 14 days for contempt of court,” said Mr Jones.
Mr Jones later spent a further seven days in prison for failing to attend court for a second hearing.
Prosecutor Lesley Harbon told the court that the police officer explained to Mr Jones that he had been stopped because of the speed and manner of his driving near Milton on April 24th. Mr Jones also refused to provide his details.
His “unusual” response had raised concerns that he may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, so a breath test was requested.
Mr Jones repeated his assertions that he would not be governed by the officer, adding that if he prevented him from continuing on his journey he would bill the police and did not recognise its authority.
“I’m a respectable businessman being treated worse than a common criminal. Yes you have to live by the rules not hurt anyone but if its a free society you can be involved or not, surely that’s a free society,” Mr Jones told the Western Telegraph.
His interest in the magna carta and other subjects began around six months ago, starting with “controversial TV” which examined conspiracy theories surrounding cancer treatment, 9/11 and the 7/7 bombings.
Although he is not involved with the Freemen on the Land movement Mr Jones has studied some of thegroup’s theories, along with many others and traditional law.
“It’s in the magna carta that officials have to have your consent to be governed and they say the magna carta doesn’t exist now but if it doesn’t exist you can only try someone for manslaughter because murder is part of the magna carta,” he added.
In court his solicitor, Phillipa Ashworth, said: “This situation arises out of what is described in the officer’s view as an unusual response when stopped.
“This response stems from research that Mr Jones undertook and had been drawn into a philosophy in relation to when you’re born, whether you’re born as a freeman or not. In a democratic society, as a free person you should be able to choice if you want to be part of that democratic society or not.
“On this occasion, in hindsight he appreciates it was not the time to test out philosophical theories behind this approach to life, and in hindsight it isn’t something he would do again.”
Ms Ashworth added that it was not done out of malice or in an aggressive manner but a genuine belief that he had the right to be able to refuse the authority of the police officer.
Mr Jones said his time in Swansea prison was “terrifying”
and he feared for his business and marriage while locked up.
“I regret digging my heels in but don’t regret taking the initial stance that before someone can justifiably arrest you they have to have your permission unless they can prove you’ve done something thing wrong.
“When they sent me to prison they stuck me in a cell next to a guy who got 30 years for murder. It was fairly easy to do the time, but I was questioning why am I here?
“The last few months have been a very tough time, it’s been extremely stressful.
“At the end of the day I didn’t do anything wrong and it’s cost me £3,000 and got me four points on my licence, just for trying to stand up for my rights, and I’ve done 22 days in prison. In hindsight would I do it again? Of course I wouldn’t.
“Friends are split into two camps – either they think ‘good on you’ or they think you’re a nutter. I think everybody should be able to stand up for your rights, you should be able to question it.
“I pay my taxes and carry on with everyday life but when someone tries to impose their authority on you when you feel they’re breaking their own rules you should then question it, that’s my point,” said Mr Jones.