Phoebe Lee Bennett

Magistrate slams teen’s ‘sovereign citizen’ defence

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“A Dunsborough teenager caught speeding on Bussell Highway has been lambasted by a magistrate for “wasting the court’s time” after claiming she did not consent to the charges as a sovereign citizen. Phoebe Lee Bennett appeared in Busselton Magistrate’s Court this week charged with exceeding the speed limit by more than 10km/h. It is alleged the 18-year-old , above, was driving 127km/h in a 110km/h zone on the highway in December, a charge which usually involves a simple $200 fine.

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When asked to confirm her identity and whether she understood the charge, Ms Bennett said: “I answer to the name Phoebe of the Bennett family . . . I do not consent to the contract as a sovereign citizen.” Taking her answer as a not guilty plea and listing her matter for trial next week, Magistrate Andrew Maughan slammed her freeman sovereign citizen movement as misguided and uninformed.

“Let me give you a quick legal lesson — the nonsense you have just spilled has been considered by the highest court in this country and the highest courts in other countries — it will get you nowhere ,” he said. “You are simply wasting your time and wasting this court’s time if you’re going to rely upon possible conditional argument whether this court has jurisdiction to deal with this matter or not.”

Continuing her stance, when the matter was set for trial Ms Bennett asked Mr Maughan if he was asking her to leave, saying if she left the matter would be final. Unimpressed, Mr Maughan told her should she not attend her trial, it would proceed in her absence, likely resulting in a criminal charge.

Fuelled in part by online sub-cultures , followers of the freeman sovereign citizens movement believe they are only bound by laws if they verbally consent.”

WA magistrate convicts 18yo ‘sovereign citizen’ after she refuses to tell court her name

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