Lich Trial Highlights: November 1, 2023

Day 25 of the Lich and Barber trial began with Perkins-McVey indicating that she was not yet prepared to make a decision regarding the solicitor-client privilege redactions in the PLT email chain.

Acting Sgt. Blonde retook the stand, and the cross-examination began. Greenspon questioned Blonde about an 8-page summary he drafted on September 14, 2023. Greenspon inquired about an email drafted by INTERSECT, which Blonde claimed he had never seen before. Greenspon asked Blonde about his beliefs regarding the email's content, specifically whether the convoy protests would be "ongoing for some time." Blonde said that he could not recall his thoughts at the time.

Blonde admitted that he didn't have an exact memory of his whereabouts on specific days during the protests without relying on the PLT signal chats. Greenspon inquired about the number of PLT Signal messages received per day, suggesting it ranged from 80 to 100. Blonde agreed with Greenspon's estimation.

The cross-examination then began analyzing the details of the protests, with Blonde acknowledging that some emergency lanes were left open by protesters, including Metcalfe and Bank Street, on January 31, 2022. He also admitted that there were different groups and factions involved and that many individuals claimed to be members of convoy leadership. Blonde further stated that he had a meeting with an indigenous leader at Confederation Park.

On February 6, 2022, Blonde said he walked around the Kent and Laurier intersection and testified that all the people he spoke to that day claimed they were not aligned with any convoys or protesters and had no intention of leaving the protest that day.

Regarding truck movements, Blonde stated that, during the protests, it didn't matter to him where trucks were located. Greenspon then asked if Blonde was aware that OPS and the city aimed to "reduce the footprint" created by the protests. Blonde responded that he was not aware of this.

On February 11, 2022, a Signal chat entry by PLT Command Sgt. Phong Li asserted a "lack of authority of PLT officers" to reduce the footprint had a "catastrophic result." Blonde agreed with this assessment.

Greenspon asked Blonde if he agreed that it was difficult keeping track of all of the many different convoys present in Ottawa during the protests. In response, Blonde stated that he did not agree and added that he would characterize it as the "convoy as a whole." Greenspon subsequently put a text exchange of February 12, 2022, to Blonde, where Blonde texted, "There are so many convoys, it is difficult to keep track." In response, Blonde said that this was his understanding as of February 12, 2022, but added that his current position was that it was a "single convoy."

Greenspon then inquired about the PLT's "measured response," which was apparently reflected by the border colours on pamphlets. Blonde admitted he never explained the meaning of the border colour changes to protesters.

Blonde also confirmed that he had no direct dealings with Tamara Lich and that he met with many individuals who identified as "organizers." He admitted to making no notes or references about protesters, stating that they were present at the protest because of Lich or Barber.

Greenspon reiterated the text message from February 12, 2022, where Blonde stated that there were too many convoys to differentiate between them all and asked if Blonde was being truthful at the time. Blonde testified that he was being truthful at the time he sent the texts.

Younes began her cross-examination of Blonde next. She referenced other Signal messages in which Blonde referred to "convoys" in the plural, and he acknowledged that he did mention separate convoys. Blonde also admitted that Barber was "one of the road captains" and that there were several other "road captains."

Younes asked if Blonde made any notes about an individual named Millowitz being Barber's cousin, a detail mentioned in his earlier testimony. Blonde admitted he did not and further conceded that his recollection may not be accurate. Blonde acknowledged that he understood Barber advised protesters to obey all traffic laws but stated he no longer has the text messages between him and Barber.

Blonde admitted that Barber attempted to move trucks but was stopped by a police cruiser, as discussed during a previous witness's testimony. Blonde also admitted to reaching out to his commanding officers to have said cruiser moved, which did not materialize.

The crown re-examined Blonde, asking why he believed there were many different groups and factions during the convoy. Blonde explained that he was aware that people were at the protests for various reasons but now views it as one continuous protest, with participants having a common purpose.

The crown also asked Blonde why he attempted to distribute his flyers to everyone, to which Blonde responded that they tried to "distribute the flyers to everyone."

Regarding the solicitor-client email disclosure issue, Perkins-McVey indicated that her decision, to be rendered on Friday, will revolve around whether "some" or "all" of the email chain will be unredacted.

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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