Day 10 of the Lich and Barber trial began with defence reply arguments about whether 8 civilian crown witnesses should be permitted to testify. In his submissions, Greenspon questioned the relevance of the evidence provided by these witnesses, stating that their observations did not include important details such as who, where, or when. They will not be able to identify anyone linked to the convoy in Ottawa or provide information about what was happening on the ground.
He states that their evidence is only observational, but does not include the "who, where or when" of anything relevant to this case. None of them can identify anyone linked to any convoy present in Ottawa at the time.— The Democracy Fund (@TDF_Can) September 19, 2023
Moreover, the crown failed to argue that excluding these witnesses would irreparably damage their case. The decision on the admissibility of these witnesses will hopefully be made by the end of the week. Greenspon also pointed out that, due to the nature of the charges against Lich and Barber, the crown needs to prove both that mischief was not committed and that mischief was committed, which created a contradiction.
The crown called their next witness, Mr. Kim Ayotte, the general manager of emergency and protective services for the city of Ottawa. Ayotte intended to rely on his memory of events that occurred 19 months ago and did not bring any notes to the witness stand. He also mentioned being in possession of thousands of emails during the convoy, which the defence did not receive as part of their disclosure.
During examination in chief, Ayotte testified that he worked with the police to establish emergency lanes. When the crown asked follow-up questions about emergency lanes, Ayotte stated that he would need to consult his notes for an accurate answer. Permission was granted for Ayotte to review his notes, but he revealed that he didn't have them with him as they were at his office.
Ayotte has brought no notes to the witness stand. He states that he intends to rely only on his memory events that occurred roughly 19 months ago.— The Democracy Fund (@TDF_Can) September 19, 2023
Ayotte mentioned that bylaw officers during the convoy were only permitted to issue tickets with a police escort and that he was concerned for their safety based on comments from the Ottawa police chief and civil unrest happening across North America. Greenspon objected to the crown's line of questioning here, calling it "inflammatory" and irrelevant. The crown took issue with Greenspon using the term “inflammatory” and argued that Ayotte's experience was relevant.
Testimony continued with questions being rephrased. Ayotte testified that all paramedics also required a police escort, but this approach is taken for all protests in Ottawa, not just the convoy protest.
Ayotte admitted that his observations of the convoy were limited to his office window and occasional walks. The crown asked Ayotte “how often” he would go on these walks, to which Greenspon, again, objected, stating that the proper question is “when did you go on these walks”. He added that there is only evidence of a single walk mentioned at the POEC (Public Order Emergency Commission).
In addition, we learned that photos and evidence of Ayotte's walks exist but have not been disclosed to the defence. The judge ordered the production of these photographs prior to the defence commencing their cross-examination. Ayotte also mentioned that he observed some CCTV video feeds and drone footage but did not have his notes with him to provide specific details.
The crown asked Ayotte about still frames taken from CCTV cameras, but the defence objected on relevance grounds. Perkins-McVey sustained the objection, ruling the question irrelevant because Ayotte selected these images for an ongoing civil lawsuit, not as observations during the convoy. Following this, the crown concluded their examination in chief.
In other words, the question the crown asked was ruled irrelevant. The reason why it was irrelevant is because Ayotte selected these images for an ongoing civil lawsuit, they were not observations he made in the moment during the convoy.— The Democracy Fund (@TDF_Can) September 19, 2023
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.