Lich Trial Highlights: November 20, 2023

Day 27 of the Lich & Barber trial unfolded as Diane Magas conducted a cross-examination of Officer Bach, shedding light on key aspects of her involvement as a PLT (Police Liaison Team) officer during the protests in Ottawa.

The focus of questioning was primarily on Bach's interactions with Chris Barber and the loss of data on her work phone due to a mandatory software update.

Bach acknowledged in her testimony that she did not maintain detailed duty book notes, relying instead on recording observations in signal chats with colleagues. Magas delved into specific duty book entries, including an entry from January 26, 2022, where Bach admitted that, at the time of writing, she did not perceive any aggression from the protesters.

The examination shifted to an email sent by Bach to the PLT team before the convoy's arrival, wherein she communicated the parking arrangements for tractor-trailers on Wellington Street. Magas highlighted Bach's use of the phrase 'no issue,' which Bach clarified as indicating no problem with long-term truck parking on Wellington Street. Magas linked this to an earlier email from INTERSECT, emphasizing the significance of the event and its prolonged duration, to which Bach admitted understanding.

Magas probed further into the creation of the signal chat group on January 27, 2022, referencing maps sent by PLT constable Askin detailing truck parking locations. Bach confirmed her awareness of the mission objective set by the Ottawa police on January 27, 2022, prioritizing public safety, maintaining peace and preserving the rights of individuals to peacefully protest. However, she couldn't recall who conveyed this mission objective to her.

The cross-examination extended to text messages between Bach and Barber, revealing discussions about truck parking logistics and Barber's attempts to manage non-compliance among truckers. Magas highlighted apparent inconsistencies between Bach's mention of a "very aggressive group" in her previous testimony and her notes indicating non-aggressive behaviour.

Magas concluded her cross-examination by questioning Bach about her difficulty remembering observations without notes. Bach affirmed this difficulty and acknowledged the absence of notes regarding non-compliance by protesters on February 1, 2022.

Following Magas's cross-examination, Eric Granger commenced his cross-examination by exploring Bach's experience during the convoy, emphasizing the varied reasons individuals had for participating and the generally positive mood during the initial weeks.

Granger brought attention to Bach's admission that her phone was wiped after the convoy's conclusion, questioning whether she informed her command team about this. Bach recalled notifying Sgt. Li but couldn't recall her subsequent actions. Granger then put the recently unredacted ‘PLT Disclosure’ email chain to Bach.

The content of the email included that OPS (Ottawa Police Service) phones are "corporately owned" and that there is a ‘personal side’ and ‘work side’ to the cell phones. In addition, the email included instructions to PLT officers regarding "booking a migration appointment" with the IT department to update their work phones. Bach testified that she booked the migration appointment prior to her phone being wiped. Granger asked Bach if she had completed the steps laid out prior to the migration appointment. She testified that she didn't recall. Granger then asked if she read the instructions. Bach said that she ‘looked them over.’

Granger then revealed more from the instructions, which included: 'a device wipe is required, and all stored data will be deleted' as a result of the upgrade. Bach agreed that she was aware that this was part of the instruction. Bach further agreed that she did not back up her phone despite receiving and reviewing this email from IT. Granger introduced another email chain between Sgt. Li and Bach dated October 19, 2023. These emails, Granger pointed out, were sent after Bach had begun testifying. Bach admitted to contacting Sgt. Li post-testimony, violating instructions not to discuss the case.

Granger concluded his examination by questioning Bach about encounters with a number of individuals unaffiliated with a convoy and her texts asking them to leave on February 18, 2022.

The day concluded with the Crown expressing readiness to close its case. The court adjourned with plans to resume on November 27, 2023, promising another dedicated week to the trial proceedings.

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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