Lich Trial Highlights: September 5, 2023

Tuesday, September 5, marked the first day of Tamara Lich’s trial for crimes she allegedly committed in connection to the Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa in February 2022, including the crimes of mischief, obstruction, counselling mischief and counselling intimidation.

The crown attorney’s opening statement provided little insight into how the prosecution intends to prove its case, but it appears the crown will attempt to show that Lich, and her co-accused, Chris Barber, exercised their influence to cause protestors to break the law.  

The prosecution will attempt to prove its case over approximately 10 days and through 22 witnesses who will include officers from the Ottawa Police Service, city officials, downtown residents, downtown workers, former Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, and public order police officers.

The crown intends to enter over 100 exhibits, including video and social media evidence relating to the protests.

Constable Barlow of the Ottawa Police Service was the only witness called on this first day of trial. He testified about creating a compilation video from footage taken by the Sûreté du Québec.

While the officer told the crown that his compilation was representative of the video footage he had been sifting through for months, he later admitted on cross-examination that it 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 protestors.

The cross-examination was adjourned after Barlow admitted to Barber’s lawyer, Diane Magas, that he did not disclose to the defence all the video he reviewed when creating the compilation.  

The crown also revealed that it intends to bring a “Carter Application,” in which it will be asking the judge to use Barber’s statements and actions to establish the guilt of Lich, and vice versa. This is a complicated application that requires the crown to 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.

If satisfied on these two points, then the judge could consider the statements and actions of Barber as admissible evidence in establishing the guilt of Lich.

The defence has not disclosed its theory nor is it required to do so. Tamara Lich’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, reserved his right to make an opening statement later in the proceeding if he calls evidence, which he is not required to do because the burden of proof rests on the crown to prove Lich and Barber’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Disclaimer: Please remember this update is given for information purposes only. It is not legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should consult a lawyer for specific advice.

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