$10,000 or so and a dildo with a message for border agents: A Toronto man’s ‘civil disobedience’ leads to lengthy court battle

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By the time Ignac Nick Hogen arrived in Toronto from the Philippines with his wife and child on September 21, 2018, he knew what an airport drill would be.

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For the 14th time in a row, they will be included in secondary screening and their belongings will be searched by Canada Border Services Agency officials. What they’ll get: Handwritten messages like “CBSAs are bullies and a-holes.”

On this occasion, Hodgen had something new for officers searching his bag: a specially purchased seven-inch, flesh-colored dildo, adorned with the phrase: “Cock Award”, dedicated to the officer who Hodgen’s one-man kicked off the CBSA’s crusade against “tyranny”.

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It’s a visit that, so far, has included allegations of arbitrary and aggressive searches by CBSA officers, criminal charges Hojan says were held to intimidate him, and a constitutional complaint of nearly five hours in custody.

Hodgen’s battle with Canada’s border agency began a year earlier with an airport dispute that he owed nearly $10,000 in cash—$8,630 in US dollars and $245 Canadian, to be exact. For the CBSA, using the Bank of Canada exchange rate, that amount worked out to a total Canadian value of $10,500 – $500 above the maximum limit. The entire amount will have to be forfeited.

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For 60-year-old Hodgen, it was absurd to use that rate. Had he exchanged US dollars at Pearson Airport’s currency exchange location upon arrival, it would have been several hundred less than $10,000, he said, adding that he also showed the officer his online banking details, showing that he was returning. Will take Money from your own bank account.

Eventually, he asked why the officer was such an “a-hole”.

Subsequently, Hodgen stated in an application during his criminal case that his charter of rights had been violated, That officer went to check police databases to see if he had a criminal record—he doesn’t—and searched his belongings and his phone for two hours. Hojan said the officer spent about five minutes looking at the photos on his phone, including some intimate photos of Hojan and his wife.

“I felt so embarrassed. I felt so violated,” Hodgen said. “I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life.”

Hodgen alleged in a court application that as soon as the officer saw the images, he asked why he had not brought his “beautiful Filipina wife” back to Canada.

In the end, Hodgen was told that he could pay a $250 fine and that the currency would be returned, which he did.

“Good evening and I will see you here for the next six years,” the officer said.

Hodgeon later learned that he had been put on a list that would cause him to be pulled over for screening every time he crossed the border. He also complained, but was rejected. He made several increasingly irritable and unsuccessful attempts to complain directly to senior CBSA officials, including agency head John Osowski.

So Hodson, an early retired Toronto mortgage broker, decided to court what his attorney, Christopher Murphy, described as “civil disobedience.”

In addition to the paper messages left in his bag, he wore a white T-shirt with the message: “CBSA officers are the enemy of the Canadian people / CBSA terrorizes Canadians.” Once, while driving back from America, he pasted messages on the windows of his car as he was pulled over to secondary screening.

By the time of his return via Pearson in September 2018, he had not only added a dildo, but had taped 1.2 million in Indonesian rupiah – roughly $100 Canadian, and well under the $10,000 limit – around his penis. .

Also new this time: Hodgen finds himself locked in a cell for five hours, facing criminal charges, a lengthy court battle, and the prospect of jail time.

His nine-day trial was due to begin in the Brampton Courtroom earlier this month but was abruptly called off a week before the start.

“I am what I am,” Hodgen said in an interview after she vetoed the allegations. “I’m theoretical on some things. Sometimes I bear the brunt, but it’s for a purpose.”

A CBSA spokesperson said the agency had no comment on the decision to stay the charges.

Although Hodgen granted CBSA permission to answer questions about his case, CBSA’s response did not reveal whether the initial search of Hodgen’s phone and belongings was proper or was done properly.

“Personal digital devices can only be tested if there is evidence of border law violations,” the spokesperson said. “CBSA officers are trained to conduct all border examinations in a professional manner with respect to confidentiality.”

CBSA’s response also did not address Hodgen’s allegations that he had been subjected to false searches that had nothing to do with currency violations, or why he was sent for secondary screening every time he crossed the border. Was.

“When someone with a past violation record crosses the border, they may be subject to more frequent and detailed examinations,” a spokesperson said. “This is to ensure that the passenger is complying with the limit requirements.”

Hodgen and his family arrived at Pearson Airport on September 21, 2018, around 7 p.m. Hodgen’s wife accepted his custom form on a machine, but Hodgen’s form was rejected twice and he had to line up to speak to a CBSA officer.

Hodgeon said another CBSA official came up to him in line and startled him and said: “I see you’re staring at me, do you have a problem with me?” According to the Crown, the officer had recognized Hodgen from previous conversations.

In response, Hodgen said: “How f— do these people get away with this behavior” and unbuttoned his jacket, revealing his T-shirt remarks on CBSA.

A supervisor of CBSE started questioning him. Responding to a question whether he had any drugs, Hodgeon pulled out a small bag with white powder and said: “It may or may not be drugs.” Then he opened the bag and tasted it—it was the baking soda for his acid reflux—and explained what it was.

Hodgen was arrested on charges of importing a narcotic substance and intercepting an officer. Half an hour later, he was told that the white powder had been tested and found not to be narcotic, but that he would still be charged with intercepting an officer.

In his application accusing him of violating his constitutional rights, Hodgen argues that he could have been released at that time with a future court date. Instead, he was held for another four-and-a-half hours while his wife and child waited, which he alleges is part of a pattern of intimidation by the CBSA.

The application argued, “CBSA detained (Hojan) for the purpose of punishing him, which CBSA wrongly believed was the disrespect shown to CBSA on each of his re-entry to Canada.” “Instead of showing disrespect … (Hojan) was merely stating that (his) opinion was CBSA abusing its authority and that CBSA should respond to the third-party oversight committee.”

Hodge denied ever violent or threatening any CBSA officer, and said he was twice described as violently liar, a claim he would refute by looking at CCTV footage of the conversation.

In its response to the charter application, the Crown argued that Hodgen was kept because a criminal investigation needed to be completed and that two CBSA investigators were to be called on standby, which took approximately three hours. The Crown also said that Hodgen repeatedly answered questions by saying “no agreement”.

The Crown denied that there was any “maliciousness or enmity” towards Hodgen, which led to him being detained for five hours, and said his rights were respected, despite Hodgen’s “taunting”.

A CBSA spokesperson said their case “follows standard procedure for individuals who are accused of committing a criminal offense at a CBSA port of entry.”

Earlier this month, no reason was given in court as to why Hodgen was again abruptly suspended.

Murphy said, “Hozan’s position has always been that he did not commit a crime, he was exercising his right to freedom of expression, it was an act of civil disobedience to call attention to the bullying behavior by some members of the CBSA.” ,” said Murphy. During the brief Zoom hearing.

“Mr. Hodgeon has been facing these charges for almost three years and I thank my friend for staying the proceedings, but in this case your honor under all circumstances, I submit that this case should have been as it should have been.” , lasted much longer than that.

“Mr. Hodgen I wish you the best of luck in the future,” said federal prosecutor Robert Morin.

In an interview, Murphy stated that the charges were withheld due to late document disclosure issues uncovered by Hodgen, including investigatory notes he had requested and said were not in fact present and investigated. The door was opened for more questions about whether or not. Hostility towards Hodgen by CBSA.

“Sometimes you have to live up to the bully. And that’s what Mr. Hodgen did,” Murphy said.

Hodgen said he looked forward to his day in court, but his wife in particular is happy that she no longer has to risk jail time.

He says he is not “anti-authoritarian” and says his actions were motivated in part, as many others, especially those who are not citizens, are not in a position to challenge the CBSA.

“When it comes to rebelling and the misdeeds of the authorities, I’m a bit non-conformist when it comes to letting people know,” he said. “It’s also humorous, actually.”

He has traveled before the start of the pandemic since his arrest. He said he was still pulled over at the secondary screening, but was only asked about the pose and his bag was not searched – a change he thinks…

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