Lich Trial Highlights: November 28, 2023

On Day 29 of the Lich and Barber trial, Eric Granger continued his submissions, presenting an analysis of the evidence and legal arguments seeking to dismiss the crown's Carter application.

Granger commenced by referencing a video posted by Lich on February 16, 2022, in which she appealed for love, respect, and prayers for police officers. Drawing attention to a text exchange between Lich and Barber on February 17, 2022, Granger highlighted apparent disagreements between them regarding the statements made in the video. He submitted that this suggested Lich and Barber were not engaged in a common unlawful purpose, as required in the Carter test.

Granger emphasized the need for caution in treating Lich and Barber as a single entity. He questioned the crown's allegations of conspiracy, particularly in light of Barber's diverse statements. Granger pointed out that there was no evidence of Lich breaking the law leading up to or during her arrest, citing her politeness and compliance. He argued that interpreting Lich's statement, "hold the line," as nefarious would be speculative, given her overall behaviour.

Addressing the issue of mutual involvement, Granger asserted that there was no evidence of Lich's and Barber's participation in Ottawa coexisting. He highlighted the trial's recurring theme of multiple convoys with varying interests, referencing testimonies from officers describing protesters as disparate groups from different places. Granger noted the absence of any connection between protesters and Lich or Barber in the testimony of Crown witnesses.

Turning to legal submissions, Granger discussed the unlawful common design, emphasizing the lack of evidence regarding the nature of the design, the link between Barber and Lich, and the temporal range of the alleged conspiracy. He argued that the evidence contradicted any inference of a common unlawful design. Regarding the furtherance requirement, Granger contended that there was a dearth of evidence supporting the notion of "furthering" a conspiracy, with crown evidence primarily referencing past events which would not satisfy the Carter test.

Concluding his submissions, Granger asserted that the evidence fell short of sustaining any of the three branches of the Carter application, urging the court to dismiss the crown's application. Diane Magas, counsel for Chris Barber, then commended her submissions, referencing a new document provided by the crown during the lunch break. Granger opted to reserve additional submissions arising from this document until the crown made responding submissions. Magas questioned the ambiguity in the crown materials about the date of the alleged agreement to conspire, pointing out the lack of clarity on whether it occurred before or after arriving in Ottawa.

Magas explained the legal definitions of riot and unlawful assembly, arguing that the evidence overwhelmingly contradicted any tumultuous activity during the convoy protest. She highlighted numerous text messages and social media statements made by Barber and Lich, with no indication of an agreement for unlawful purposes. She asserted the legality of actions such as setting up a GoFundMe account and obtaining fuel for trucks. Magas emphasized the peaceful nature of the protests and the absence of evidence linking Barber and Lich to any unlawful plan.

Referring to both text exchanges and Barber's public statements, Magas contended that they did not suggest an agreement with an unlawful purpose. She emphasized Barber's cooperation with law enforcement, citing instances of collaboration to ensure a peaceful protest. Magas doubted that the accusation of ‘unlawful purpose’ could be sustained, given that the evidence showed that police guided protesters into the city and directed them to suitable parking areas. She noted the lack of direct or indirect evidence supporting the crown's claims and concluded by highlighting Barber's efforts to work with police for a lawful and peaceful protest.

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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