OTTAWA, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) –– During Day 23 of the trial for Freedom Convoy leaders Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, an Ottawa Police Services (OPS) officer claimed that protesters were “hostile” after being told to clear out of the city’s downtown core after emergency laws were enacted, despite the fact that during the clear-out a woman got trampled by a horse.
The Democracy Fund (TDF), which is crowdfunding Lich’s legal costs, noted in a Day 23 trial update that OPS Sgt. Jordan Blonde said he had helped with the OPS Police Liaison Team (PLT) planning in anticipation of the protests, on January 25, 2022.
Blonde noted how he spoke with people at the protest and that he was partnered with OPS officer Nicole Bach, who last week testified her phone was “wiped” of all communications between her and the protestors.
The Crown asked Blonde about his observations of the protests, with him noting that people were cooking hot food over propane stoves.
Blonde also said that he met with Barber, and they discussed moving trucks away from residential areas, as Barber had wanted them to be more visible to Parliament and passing MPs.
He told the court that he was tasked with giving out an “information leaflet” to protestors regarding an agreed “moving day” of trucks on February 14, 2022, from residential areas to Wellington Street. Barber had said he could not get the trucks moving right away as police cruisers were blocking the way.
As noted by the TDF, after Blonde began placing the leaflets under vehicles’ windscreen wipers, he claimed the “crowd’s mood was angry and quite hostile.”
“There was more of a crowd being formed. It was very, very hostile at that point in time, so hostile that the liaison team on the ground made the decision to pull out of the area, and we didn’t continue messaging at that time just due to the yelling and the screaming and swearing,” he said.
The TDF said that Blonde was “particularly upset about the notices being distributed. On February 16, he said he witnessed individuals taking these notices and depositing them into a toilet placed in the middle of the road.”
He did note that while attending a baseball stadium on February 16 and 17, he did not encounter any negative responses from the protesters.
Blonde also said that overall, he saw “nothing unusual” in the scheme of the protests, regarding open-air fires or people in saunas.
In early 2022, the Freedom Convoy saw thousands of Canadians from coast to coast come to Ottawa to demand an end to COVID mandates in all forms. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal government enacted the Emergencies Act on February 14, the same day as “moving day.”
During the clear out of protestors, after the EA was put in place, one protester, an elderly lady, was trampled by a police horse, and one conservative female reporter was beaten by police and shot with a tear gas canister.
Trudeau revoked the EA on February 23.
Court again hears about ‘redacted’ police documents
On Friday in court, defense counsel Eric Granger again questioned how “communication between two police officers could be regarded as solicitor-client privilege,” as noted by the TDF.
He questioned this, which resulted in Judge Heather Perkins-McVey noting “that it was not clear whether solicitor-client privilege had been sufficiently established.”
On Friday, as per the TDF, “Granger characterized the current scenario as a simple matter of disclosure, placing the onus on the crown to provide a clear justification for the redactions made in the documents.”
Counsel for Barber, Diane Magas, also entered the discussion around the redacted documents, saying, “the need for a clearer distinction, especially when the communications involved two clients rather than a solicitor and a client.”
“She further pointed out the inadequacy in the crown’s description of solicitor-client privilege, arguing that it must be sufficiently explained for both counsel and the court to determine if it genuinely qualifies as privileged information,” noted the TDF.
Last Thursday in court Perkins-McVey remarked that it was “unusual” that two OPS officers who interacted with protestors had their phone data wiped during the protests.
On Thursday as well, lawyers for Lich and Barber noted to the court they got copies of five internal emails they had requested, which were said to be communications between officers, but they were heavily redacted and wondered why this was the case.
The OPS had claimed the emails were protected by solicitor-client privilege.
On Friday, Perkins-McVey said that a proper description of solicitor-client privilege to “enable a meaningful assessment” should be emphasized.
“She mentioned that the redactions pertained to witness planning and a legal application not currently before the court, as well as litigation strategies specific to that application, which was a crown application,” noted the TDF.
Counsel for the OPS, Vanessa Stewart, argued that the redacted conversations between the OPS PLT officers contained “advice from the Crown and had been disseminated to multiple officers.”
“Therefore, she contended that these conversations should remain redacted, as they did not qualify for un-redaction,” noted the TDF.
Lich and Barber’s trial has thus far taken more time than originally planned due to the slow pace of the Crown calling its witnesses. LifeSiteNews has been covering the trial extensively.
Last week, bail-related charges placed against Lich for attending an awards ceremony were stayed by the Crown in a move that comes during her weeks-long trial for leading the convoy, which is separate from her bond charges.