Lich Trial Highlights: October 31, 2023

Day 24 of the Lich & Barber trial featured significant developments in the court proceedings. The crown began by reiterating concerns about 11(b) issues (the 18-month ceiling for provincial trial proceedings) and affirmed its readiness to proceed. Following this, Justice Perkins-McVey delivered her decision on two defence disclosure applications made the previous week.

Regarding the 5-page fully redacted document, Perkins-McVey began by emphasizing the highly unusual nature of the fact that the phones of two important witnesses in this trial - officers Cyr and Bach - had been wiped. She noted that Chris Barber's phone logs had been recovered but did not cover all of the lost information.

She decided that the 5-page, fully redacted document in question is a third-party record. She emphasized that relevance, even in a third-party records application, is a relatively low threshold for the defence to meet, and the information doesn't necessarily need to be admissible to be considered relevant.

The court must determine true relevance, and Perkins-McVey found that the "likely relevance" test had been met. Consequently, she ordered the document to be produced immediately for her examination.

The judge also addressed an email exchange in which the crown claimed solicitor-client privilege. Perkins-McVey noted that this communication occurred between two officers and reiterated that information used to obtain legal advice is protected by confidentiality. She clarified that the exception to this rule is when innocence is at stake. Again, she ordered the emails to be produced for her examination, with the exception of an email regarding legal strategy for an unrelated matter.

Perkins-McVey received the unredacted documents from the crown, including the previously mentioned five-page fully redacted document. After a brief review, she ordered the crown to provide this document to defence in its entirety, unredacted. However, regarding the redacted emails, she mentioned that she needed more time to deliberate, reserving her decision on the matter of the crown’s claim of solicitor-client privilege.

The crown then recalled Officer Blonde to the witness stand.

The crown inquired about the days he took off during the protests, which he said were February 5, 2022, and February 13, 2022. Blonde described an influx of people and vehicles during the weekends, along with loud noises that were louder than truck horns. He mentioned a decrease in the frequency of truck horns towards the end of the protests and reported observing other PLT (Police Liaison Team) officers delivering flyers to protesters in the same areas where he distributed them.

Blonde testified about additional engagement on February 19, 2022, on Wellington Street, where POU (Public Order Unit) officers were pushing protesters westward. He said he communicated messages like "clear the intersection" at Metcalfe Street and Sparks Street, which echoed the content of the flyers he distributed. He stated that the consequence of not leaving the area was "arrest." Blonde explained that the PLT's role was to provide messaging to people. He said the "measured response" referred to an escalation in the severity of the messages, which was indicated by a "colour change" on the leaflets.

He described providing the "final messaging" to protesters on February 19, 2022, resulting in some protesters leaving while others remained. He described those who remained as “hell-bent on being arrested.” Blonde said he observed "slow and methodical" arrests conducted by POU officers and significant resistance among those being arrested, including one protester he described as engaging in "passive resistance.

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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