Lich Trial Highlights: October 17, 2023

Day 18 of the trial began with the cross-examination of Paul Jorgenson.

Mr. Granger asked Jorgenson about his departure from Ottawa on January 31, 2022, Jorgenson responded that he was “quite sure” he left on that day. Granger then asked if Jorgenson had met with officers in September 2022, and if he told them that he did not recall when he left Ottawa, Jorgenson agreed. 

Jorgenson reiterated that there were multiple vehicles blocking the driveway to his building, but admitted he did not attempt to speak with any of the people in the vehicles to ask them to move, nor did he contact the police. Jorgenson also testified about an incident where he felt threatened by “a large group of protesters”, who “surrounded” him on “two or three sides”. He admitted that this “large group” only numbered about five or six individuals and that he was able to walk past them. Again, he stated that he did not contact the police following the interaction.

Jorgenson admitted that he did not attend the Whole Foods grocery store close to his home, despite stating that he was experiencing “food insecurity”, due to concerns about lugging the groceries back to his apartment and the cold weather.

He also admitted that during the counterprotest to the convoy, he and his partner assisted a group of counter protesters in intentionally blocking traffic on Elgin Street. He felt that blocking traffic was a means he had to resort to out of “desperation”. He stated that he “does not recall” being cautioned by police. He further described the positive feelings he experienced as a result of participating in the counterprotest.

Jorgenson admitted that he believed he is “covered” by the class action lawsuit against the convoy and that he did not take any steps to be excluded from the lawsuit. Defence counsel, Ms. Younes, asked Jorgenson about where he bought his noise-cancelling headphones, and he initially said it was at Best Buy, but then he could not recall. Jorgenson also initially stated that he bought the headphones, but later changed this testimony as well stating that he believed his partner bought him the headphones. He further agreed that it’s possible his memory was not accurate regarding the date the headphones were purchased. Jorgenson also stated that he did not attend JJ's Market while he was experiencing “food insecurity” because the protesters frequented the market. 

The crown re-examined Jorgenson and asked him why he chose not to speak to the individuals in the cars blocking his driveway, and he said that he did not want to speak to them and that they would not have been able to create a path for him to exit anyway. The crown also asked Jorgenson why he chose not to walk on Bank Street, and he said that he did not want to add to the protest "body count" or have the protesters interpret his presence as support and further, that he wanted to avoid altercation. 

Isabelle Cyr, police liaison team officer, was briefly recalled to the stand to continue examination in chief. Defence raised concerns about being unable to properly review the roughly 400 pages of email disclosure which was disclosed on Friday, on this basis, her cross examination was adjourned to Day 19. 

Just prior to adjourning for the day, the crown brought an application on behalf of one of the PLT (police liaison team) officers who are seeking to provide testimony via Zoom in order to care for her four-month-old child. Defence counsel, Diane Magas, responded and stated that she breastfed five children in this courthouse while working. She added that this witness is central as the primary PLT officer who dealt with Mr. Barber, and her absence could inhibit her access to exhibits. Justice Perkins-McVey agreed with defence and dismissed the application.

She stated that the PLT officer will be accommodated with frequent breaks and private rooms when needed.

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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