Man charged for nude standoff
A Merritt man has been sentenced to 18 days in jail and a one-year probation following a bizarre outburst last Wednesday that saw him strip down and refuse to co-operate with authorities as they tried to repossess his house.
Lance Thatcher, 49, was charged with obstruction of a peace officer for the naked standoff, during which Thatcher espoused his “Freeman on the land” beliefs. Freemen on the land believe that statute law is contractual, and therefore void if people refuse to be governed by it.
The saga continued in a Kamloops provincial courtroom on Friday, where Thatcher refused to acknowledge his name to judge Hermann Rohrmoser. Thatcher has been charged in the past for refusing to give his name to police, and has a record of other obstruction-related charges.
Thatcher’s ex-wife, Christine Sellinger, said he began following the Freeman on the land movement toward the end of 2007, which she said was a major factor in the demise of their marriage. Sellinger, who’s not on the title to the house, moved out in 2008 and put a lien against it during divorce proceedings in 2010.
“When I left, I was under the impression that we had paid the mortgage off and were mortgage-free,” Sellinger said. “He was supposed to, through our divorce, put it up for sale and divide it down the middle, shake hands and say, ‘See you later.’ Meanwhile, when I put the lien against the house, the lawyer found out he took a personal line of credit against the house.”
Sellinger said she was surprised to learn that the house was in foreclosure in November 2011. Since she had a lien against the house, therefore legal interest in the matter, she received the same papers Thatcher was served with on the matter.
“It’s been a 14-month thing,” Sellinger said. “I haven’t been back there for three or four years at all. There has been no communication at all.”
Thatcher’s sentence also includes the order not to return to the house in question.