Mark McDiarmid ejected from courtroom after disrupting trial

A Dawson man was kicked out of his own trial for a brief period this morning after disrupting court proceedings.

A Dawson man was kicked out of his own trial for a brief period this morning after disrupting court proceedings.

Mark McDiarmid told Yukon Supreme Court he didn’t want to be present for his trial because he didn’t recognize the authority of the court.

McDiarmid is accused of assaulting and threatening lawyer Jennifer Cunningham during a February 2014 incident in the Whitehorse courthouse.

He is also charged with assaulting RCMP Cpl. Stephen Knaack and resisting arrest.

All charges stem from an incident back when McDiarmid was in court on separate attempted murder charges.

McDiarmid was supposed to have a jury trial on the current charges but didn’t show up on Oct. 31, the first scheduled day of his jury trial.

He also failed to show up for a hearing to determine whether he should get another jury trial.

Justice David Gates ruled Jan. 21 that McDiarmid didn’t prove he had a valid reason for not showing up for his jury trial and instead ordered a judge-only trial.

But as the hearing started, McDiarmid told the judge he wasn’t happy with that decision.

“The court has lost jurisdiction of this trial,” McDiarmid told the judge today, arguing he didn’t have a chance to have a hearing for the jury trial issue.

McDiarmid refused to enter pleas as the court clerk read out the charges. Justice Gates directed her to enter not guilty pleas on all counts.

“I don’t want to be here, I want to be in my cell,” McDiarmid said, interrupting the clerk reading the indictment.

As Knaack was getting sworn in as the prosecutor’s first witness, McDiarmid interrupted the proceedings once again.

“Good job Steve,” McDiarmid said, before going on a rant about police secretly photocopying legal material he had in his cell for a previous trial on attempted murder charges.

“Don’t call me Steve. I’m not your friend,” Knaack shot back, before the judge stepped in.

Gates asked McDiarmid to sit down, then ordered him to be taken out of the courtroom after he refused.

Crown prosecutor David McWhinnie told the court he only expected to have two witnesses testify.

McWhinnie also plans to introduce a video of the incident as evidence.

Gates said McDiarmid could appear in person or via video link from a witness room.

The trial has been adjourned until later today, giving time to McDiarmid to “reflect on what he wants to do,” Gates said.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

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