Lich Trial Highlights: October 18, 2023

Day 19 of the Tamara Lich and Chris Barber trial consisted of the cross-examination of Officer Isabelle Cyr.

Cyr was a police liaison team (PLT) officer responsible for gathering information from various sources, including email, telephone, and signal chats throughout the protest. She communicated with protesters to gather information for the police liaison teams, which assisted in directing the protesters to downtown Ottawa. We learned that the city agreed that the trucks would be permitted to park on Wellington Street, and this was decided as early as January 19, 2022. Cyr stated that she was in contact with Chris Garrah - one of the protest organizers - as of January 20, 2022, and there was a discussion about how many of the truckers were "registered." She agreed that she was aware of a registration contract provided to the truckers and that the truckers would further be supplied with water, food, and security among other provisions.

Her understanding was that the truckers intended to engage in a peaceful protest. 

Cyr discussed routes police provided to protesters, to and from protest zones. She attended meetings with police agencies and intel services on January 21, 2022, where the estimated arrival of the convoy was discussed (January 28/29, 2022).

Cyr agreed that someone at one of these meetings raised the idea of obtaining and placing barricades in certain locations, but she does not recall who it was. She confirmed that she was aware of a code of conduct which was to be provided to the truckers - which included that the truckers would remain peaceful. Cyr further confirmed that she texted Chris Garrah about using the baseball stadium as a "shuttling" point to transport protesters from the stadium to Parliament throughout the protest. She further agreed that she spoke about getting "staging areas" ready for protesters by "Saturday morning." She admitted that on January 27, 2022, she provided Garrah, and others, routes and maps.

This email was sent to Daniel Bulford (a protest organizer) as well. Cyr hoped that these routes would be distributed to all of the protesters coming to Ottawa. The maps contained in the email detailed a variety of truck types, and their intended corresponding parking areas. Every staging or parking area had an emergency response lane carved out.

Cyr agreed that Elgin was a designated emergency route. She confirmed that the Ottawa police service was aware that she was providing these routes and staging areas to the protesters. She also agreed that prescribed truck totals were not included in the Rideau staging area and that the natural overflow of trucks would be north and south of Rideau Street. She said she did not know why police did not prescribe a vehicle total for the Rideau staging area. She further admitted that police did not provide a specific Rideau staging area aside from "go to Rideau street." Cyr said she did not recall receiving intelligence that the protesters were planning on staying for an extended period of time, and that she didn’t have that anywhere in her notes.

Greenspon asked Cyr about INTERSECT, she stated that she was not sure what it was. She said she did not recall having interactions with INTERSECT in the lead up to the protests. Cyr testified that she recalled an individual named Kim Stuurop who was affiliated with INTERSECT, but said she does not recall having any interactions with her. An INTERSECT email stating that the convoy was going to be an "extended and fluid event" was put to Cyr, but she stated that she did not recall receiving or reading the email.

Of note, Cyr also stated that she had an issue with her phone whereby all of her contacts and text messages were inexplicably "wiped" from her phone between January 27 and February 9, 2022 (the majority of the protest). 

Greenspon then questioned Cyr on PLT signal group chats and her duty book notes. On January 27, 2022 in the signal chats, Cyr wrote: 'Great job on the maps... the truckers will love it.' In another message, she wrote 'the baseball diamond is a go'. In one of her duty book notes, Cyr referred to "4 pallets of bricks" being delivered to Ottawa, but she said that she is not sure why the bricks were being delivered to Ottawa. 

Greenspon asked if Cyr was aware, after the first weekend, that the PLTs were trying to negotiate "shrinking the footprint" of the demonstrators. She said she was aware. There were at least two examples of PLTs trying to work with protesters to reduce the footprint, but being prevented by commanding officers. In a signal chat from February 2, 2022, there was an indication that the trucks blocking Rideau Sussex, did not belong to the freedom convoy - Cyr stated that this group was the "french connection". Cyr agreed that, in the Signal group chat, she stated that this "french connection" group would not move. In a meeting on February 8, 2022 - according Cyr's duty notes - she, and other officers, had a meeting with Keith Wilson and Eva Chipiuk.

During this meeting, there was some discussion about the desire of Sgt. Lee (one of the officer's present) to have some barriers cleared away to allow trucks to leave. Cyr stated that she doesn't recall the discussion about moving barriers at the February 8, 2022 meeting.

On February 10, 2022,  there was a posting by Sgt. Lee in a signal chat, stating that the lack of PLT authority in the protest resulted in a “catastrophic failure”, empowering protesters on Rideau Sussex. In a signal chat on February 12, 2022, there was a plan to relocate the trucks from the downtown and residential areas which did not materialize. On February 17, 2022, Cyr messaged in the PLT signal chat about being "swarmed" on Wellington by the truckers and fearing for her safety. On February 18, 2022, Cyr agreed that the truckers were notified to "leave now or they will be arrested". 

Greenspon put an email from February 1, 2022 to Cyr, which included a 'count' of the vehicles and emergency lanes. Cyr admitted that all of the emergency lanes she detailed in her "count" remained open aside from Kent Street. She further admitted that she only 'did these counts' on January 31, 2022 and February 1, 2022. 

During cross-examination by Diane Magas, Cyr was taken to the signal chat of January 31, 2022 where Cyr sent an attachment to the group. The attachment was an email from Daniel Bulford, notifying Cyr about a vehicle attempting to block an intersection. Cyr agreed that Bulford continued to send helpful information to her in order to 'assist the PLT.' She admitted that she received further internal information from other sources within the protest as well.

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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