Mercedes Benz Financial v. Ivica Kovacevic (Ont. SCJ)

February 26, 2009: Finding of contempt of Court: [2009] O.J. No. 783

March 3, 2009: Sentencing hearing and order of five days in jail [2009] O.J. No. 888

Mr. Kovacevic (the “Debtor”) entered into a conditional sale contract to finance a Mercedes vehicle with

Mercedes Benz Financial. After seven of forty-eight payments, he defaulted in payment. He refused to pay or return the vehicle.

Mercedes Benz Financial obtained an order for interim possession of the vehicle and served that order on the Debtor which required him to surrender the vehicle to the Sheriff. He persistently refused to do so.

The Debtor subscribed to a scheme of debt elimination practices, which among other techniques, purported to split his blood and flesh person from his legal, juridical person and assign all of his debts to the juridical person.

He denied the jurisdiction of the Courts of Canada as part of his religious beliefs. By various assignment documents, he purported to endorse various debts and obligations to the United States Treasury.

In four court appearances, he was self represented and refused to enter the court room until arrested and brought into the court room. He was disrespectful to the judge.

The Court went through an analysis of all of the Debtor’s lengthy and numerous documents and schemes for purporting to shed his legal obligations and settle the debt.

The Court noted that there are various seminars held to sell people debt elimination schemes using documents like those put before the Court by the Debtor. The Court noted one such seminar was held in Ontario by a person with the same surname as the Debtor and that person was a reference given on the Debtor’s credit application to Mercedes Benz Financial.

In finding the Debtor guilty of contempt of Court, the Court held [at para. 42 of the Feb. 26th decision] among other statements:

“Mr. Kovacevic couched his independence from the authority of Canadian law in terms of exclusive obedience to his creator, and his Claim-of-Right recited seven verses from Biblical scripture in support. Canadian law draws on a rich heritage of recognizing the seminal role religion plays in the lives of may people. We enjoy a robust jurisprudence that protects freedom of religion. Indeed the opening recital of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms affirms that “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” While the spheres of the temporal and the spiritual have co-existed throughout our legal history, adherence to transcendent precepts does not relieve a person of temporal obligations. In this regard I observe that Mr. Kovacevic’s Claim-of-Right, which recited verses from the Bible, omitted the most significant scriptural reference upon which Christian political thought has rested over the centuries: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”: Matthew 22:21. The Mercedes Benz, and Mr. Kovacevic’s obligation to return it, belongs to the realm of Caesar.”

The Court adjourned for five days to allow the Debtor to purge his contempt by surrendering the vehicle. He did so the next day.

In the sentencing hearing, the Court noted the intent of the Debtor from the time of financing the vehicle to not pay this debt, found his apology to the Court insincere, and noted his character witness was one of the signatories to his purposed assignments of his debts.

The Court sentenced the Debtor to five days in jail.