Saskatchewan-based weapons and assault charges against the leader of the controversial Diagolon movement have been stayed.
Last year Jeremy Mackenzie was charged with assault, pointing a firearm, use of a restricted weapon in a careless manner and mischief in connection with a 2021 incident near Viscount, Sask., a community approximately 75 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon.
He was arrested at his home in Cole Harbour, N.S., on a Canada-wide warrant before being released on bail in November 2022.
The Saskatchewan-based charges against Mackenzie were stayed in a hearing late last week.
In a statement provided to CBC News, Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice said a prosecution can only proceed when there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction or when it is in the public interest to use the criminal justice system to address the matter.
A change to circumstances can require the prosecutor to re-assess that standard, the ministry said.
Crown attorneys believed the situation in this case changed to the extent it was no longer appropriate to prosecute the charges, the statement said.
Instead, the Crown believed a “just resolution” was to have Mackenzie sign a peace bond.
What is Diagolon?
Mackenzie is the leader of an online group known as Diagolon.
A House of Commons report from June 2022 identifies the organization as an ideologically motivated violent extremist organization.
“It’s made up of former members of the Canadian Forces, individuals with real combat training, with real capabilities and who have grown increasingly radicalized, especially because of COVID,” the report says, quoting Mubin Shaikh, a professor of public safety at Seneca College.
Shaikh is quoted as saying Diagolon is one of the groups that he considers to be “real and significant threat to Canadian public safety.”
The report also notes a connection between Diagolon and extremists who were arrested at the Coutts, Alta., border crossing during convoy protests in February 2022.
Mackenzie and his followers have scoffed at the suggestion this group is some sort of American-style militia group, arguing they are simply trolling, or intentionally fooling, a gullible media.
Legal cases in Nova Scotia
Mackenzie continues to face legal issues in Nova Scotia.
The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service has confirmed that a charge for careless use of a firearm was dismissed on July 24, and Mackenzie was issued a common law peace bond, but he is still facing 12 firearm-related charges as part of a incident on Jan. 26, 2022, in Pictou, N.S.
That matters is scheduled for election or plea on Sept. 7 in Pictou Supreme Court.
Mackenzie is also facing four other charges in Nova Scotia, including mischief, criminal harassment and intimidation of a health professional.
Those charges stem from a March 2022 anti-mask protest at the home of Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Robert Strang.
Mackenzie and his co-accused in that case, Morgan May Guptil, are scheduled to return to Dartmouth Provincial Court on Oct. 3 for a status report in that case.