OTTAWA, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) –– On day 32 of the trial against Freedom Convoy leaders Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, the defense counsel for the leaders exposed gaps in the Crown’s main argument that the protests were unlawful even though there was no violence during the demonstrations against COVID mandates that took place in early 2022.
Per a day 32 trial update from the Democracy Fund (TDF), which is crowdfunding Lich’s legal costs, Crown lawyers in court last Friday tried to argue that certain text message exchanges from Barber to Pat King, a protestor not related to the main Freedom Convoy, “pointed to a common unlawful purpose” between them.
Counsel for Lich, Eric Granger, identified five gaps in the Crown’s arguments.
“These gaps included the Crown treating the events as a single protest, a failure to address the presumption of innocence, an oversimplification of evidence, misattributing the common design, and erroneously assuming collaboration between Lich and Barber for an unlawful purpose,” stated TDF.
Granger also made an argument against the Crown’s assertion “that the absence of violence or peaceful nature of the protest didn’t make it lawful, emphasizing that the onus was on the Crown to prove the protest’s unlawfulness.”
When it comes to charges against Lich for blocking streets and roadways, TDF noted that Granger “maintained that these actions could be criminal only if done wrongfully or without police authorization.”
The reality is that Lich and Barber worked with police on many occasions so that the protests were within the law.
Thus far, counsel for the Freedom Convoy leaders have been detailing to the court how text message exchanges from one of the leaders showed he was trying to ensure protesters were as respectful as possible and that he wanted to work with police.
The Crown in court has been holding steadfast to the notion in trying to prove that Lich and Barber had somehow influenced the protesters’ actions through their words as part of a co-conspiracy. This claim has been rejected by the defense as weak.
To back them up, the Crown has been hoping to use what is called a “Carter application” to help them make their case. The Crown’s so-called “Carter Application” asks that the judge consider “Barber’s statements and actions to establish the guilt of Lich, and vice versa,” TDF stated.
TDF has said that a Carter application is very “complicated” and requires that the Crown prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that there was a “conspiracy or plan in place and that Lich was a party to it based on direct evidence,” and as such, the defense is asking the judge to dismiss the application.
Crown hints it might want to change its ‘position’
On Friday in court the Crown hinted that it might be looking to change its position ahead of its Carter application.
Defense counsel for Barber, Diane Magas, as noted by TDF, “stood and informed the court of an email received from the Crown the previous night after 10:54 pm.”
“The email hinted at a potential change in the Crown’s position ahead of the Carter application, pending its progression. Magas emphasized the importance for the defense to be informed about the case to meet concerning the Carter application,” noted TDF.
An agreement was reached between the Crown lawyers and Judge Heather Perkins-McVey.
Magas, when she spoke before the court on Friday, also made a point to highlight her “disagreement with the Crown’s stance on the absence of violence as only an aggravating factor.”
“She clarified that an assembly becomes unlawful only if the peace is disturbed tumultuously,” noted TDF.
As for Granger, he emphasized that the Crown “failed to demonstrate a common unlawful purpose.”
On Day 31 of the trial government lawyers attempted to paint the two as heading a kind of “occupation” in Ottawa, an assertion the leaders’ lawyers swiftly rejected.
During Day 29, Lich’s legal counsel argued that her use of the rallying cry “hold the line” during the 2022 protests did not imply she was calling for people to engage in illegal activity.
In court last week, however, Perkins-McVey reminded the Crown that not everyone involved in the Freedom Convoy was working together. The Crown agreed this was the case.
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.
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 government enacted the Emergencies Act on February 14.
During the clear-out of protesters 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.
Lich and Barber’s trial has thus far taken more time than originally planned. LifeSiteNews has been covering the trial extensively.