OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) – After a hiatus of nearly three weeks, the trial for Freedom Convoy leaders Tamara Lich and Chris Barber resumed in an Ottawa courthouse Wednesday with the judge agreeing to allow the government to call eight more witnesses despite strong objections by the defense.
The trial, which has been on hold since September 22, has so far proceeded at a snail’s pace. The Crown has called only four of 22 planned witnesses to the stand.
During the 14th day of court proceedings on Wednesday, Justice Heather Perkins-McVey struck down a defense application calling for eight Crown civilian witnesses, who are downtown Ottawa residents and business owners, to not be allowed to testify.
The Democracy Fund (TDF), which is crowdfunding Lich’s legal costs, in a court update noted that the defense had argued “some unrelated mischief could be said to have been committed during the protest,” and that any evidence that these eight “civilian witnesses could present would be rendered irrelevant by this admission.”
The TDF pointed out that the Crown argued the civilian witnesses could “rebut the claim that the protest was peaceful and provide context to make out the elements of the offences.”
As a result, Perkins-McVey dismissed the defense application, saying the Crown alone gets to decide what evidence is brought before the court.
After dismissing the application, Constable Craig Barlow of the Ottawa Police Service’s cyber-crimes unit was called to the stand to be cross-examined by Barber’s legal counsel, Diane Magas. Early in the proceedings, Barlow had shown the court an 11-minute video compilation of police footage from the Freedom Convoy but did not disclose the source of the videos.
The TDF at the time said that Barlow had admitted his video compilation “did not show the lighter sides of the protest, such as people hugging and children playing hockey, nor did it show arrests or police violence against the protesters.”
Pressed by Magas on Wednesday, Barlow was shown several civilian and police videos of the protests, one of which looked to show police on horseback trampling an elderly lady.
Last year, LifeSiteNews reported on the protester, an elderly lady, who was trampled by a police horse, as well as on one conservative female reporter who was beaten by police and shot with a tear gas canister.
Magas asked Barlow what this video footage was not included in his compilation. He replied that he was never asked to add the footage by the Crown.
Barlow pointed out how the Crown was, as the TDF put it, “very specific about the videos it wanted him to include.”
During court proceedings, Barlow was also shown other videos of people thanking police as well as one showing Barber asking listeners via a livestream to be respectful of the law.
Lich’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, said Wednesday that the Crown had disclosed there was a 45-page “operational plan” the day before at 10:45 a.m., “and several of the previous witnesses may need to be recalled based on this new disclosure.”
Lich and Barber are facing multiple charges from the 2022 protests, including mischief, counseling mischief, counseling intimidation and obstructing police for taking part in and organizing the anti-mandate Freedom Convoy. As reported by LifeSiteNews at the time, despite the non-violent nature of the protest and the charges, Lich was jailed for weeks before she was granted bail.