Lich Trial Highlights: November 30, 2023

On the 31st day of the Lich and Barber trial, the proceedings commenced with the substantive response submissions from the Crown.

The Crown began by addressing the first step of the Carter application, emphasizing that it was not necessary to prove every element of a conspiracy for the purpose of responding to the application brought by defence. The Crown contended that an unlawful agreement transpired between January 29, 2022, and February 21, 2022, citing statements made by Barber on January 29, 2022, expressing the impact the protest had on the city. Reference was made to subsequent days, outlining the visible consequences such as road blockades, tents, stages, the use of horns, fireworks, and the presence of exhaust or fumes.

The Crown directed the court's attention to videos depicting the blocking of roads in downtown Ottawa, including one featuring Barber expressing approval.

The evidentiary gap connecting Lich and Barber to a common unlawful purpose, according to the Crown, narrowed when considering the duration of closures and road obstructions resulting from the protests. Crown witness testimonies highlighted the adverse effects on the community, including blocked roads, disrupted sleep, concentration challenges, and interference with accessing residences and workplaces. These, the Crown submitted, were the tangible consequences of the defendants' actions.

A significant part of the Crown's presentation focused on characterizing Lich and Barber as leaders of an "occupation." References were made to press conferences, Facebook posts, and videos portraying them as key figures in the movement. The Crown argued that their actions and statements, including a text exchange discussing "misleading" tactics, demonstrated a shared purpose in opposing mandates through unlawful means.

Moving to the second step of the Carter test, the Crown presented evidence suggesting the furtherance of the unlawful plan. Photographs depicting Barber's truck parked on Wellington Street were highlighted, with the Crown contending that Lich's presence on the street was enough to infer her participation.

The Crown presented a picture of Lich with Barber in front of Barber's truck on Wellington Street and submitted this as evidence of furtherance of a common unlawful design. Perkins-McVey inquired whether Barber had been directed by the police to park in that particular location. The Crown contended that he was not directed but 'perhaps welcomed' by police.

The Crown emphasized Barber's appeals for more protesters to join the movement, including encouragement for a slow roll to overwhelm the city. The submission included a TikTok video where Barber urged people to come to Ottawa. The Crown submitted that these examples reinforced the argument of a concerted effort to flood the city and overwhelm law enforcement.

The Crown additionally submitted that Barber's advising truckers to honk as officers approached, in violation of the 'honking injunction,' demonstrated a continued commitment to the unlawful plan. They concluded with a focus on text messages suggesting a deliberate effort by Barber to mislead and provoke law enforcement.

Concerning the furtherance requirement pertaining to Lich, the Crown contended that several factors supported this inference. These factors encompassed her actual presence in Ottawa, initiatives to raise funds, and video statements where she actively encouraged more individuals to participate in the protests. The Crown specifically highlighted the significance of Lich's repeated use of the phrase "hold the line," asserting that it was uttered with criminal intent.

Lawrence Greenspon, defence counsel for Tamara Lich, raised objections to the Crown's changing positions on the furtherance submissions. The defence sought an opportunity to respond, and Perkins-McVey granted the request.

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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