The Freedom Convoy was an “unlawful protest”, “occupation”, and “blockade”, prosecutor Tim Radcliffe said in court during day 31 of the trial of Chris Barber and Tamara Lich in Ottawa, ON.
Both Barber and Lich are charged with crimes linked to their roles as organizers of the 2022 Freedom Convoy, a peaceful demonstration against decrees, edicts, orders, mandates, and lockdowns imposed by government and marketed as “public health” measures to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
The two co-defendants are being charged with mischief, intimidation, obstruction of police and counselling othere to commit mischief, intimidation and obstruction of police.
Radcliffe’s characterization of the Freedom Convoy as an “unlawful” demonstration was expressed as he argued to have the Crown’s Carter application – a measure which, if approved by the judge, would allow attribution of incriminating evidence against either co-defendant to be applied to both – considered. The defence teams submitted a request to have the Carter application dismissed.
Characterizing the Freedom Convoy as an unlawful protest underpins the Crown’s desire to apply criminality to Barber’s and Lich’s organizational and leadership roles in relation to the protest.
If the protest is determined to be unlawful by Justice Heather Perkins-McVey, then public advocacy for participation in it amounts to a criminal act.
A Carter application, if approved by a judge, applies a framework of criminal conspiracy upon co-defendants in pursuit of a “common unlawful design”, which allows all judge or jury to view any criminal act by any co-defendant as applicable to all co-defendants as co-conspirators.
— Robert Kraychik (@rkraychik) November 29, 2023
The Carter application, if accepted by the judge, would apply a conspiratorial framework to the trial, in which any act determined to be of a criminal nature and committed by one of the co-defendants is applied to both co-defendants. It assumes that such criminal acts, if committed by one co-defendant, are done against a backdrop of agreement between both parties towards the commission of one or more crimes.
Day 28 trial update: Tamara Lich’s lawyers are preemptively seeking to squash a Carter application expected to be submitted by the Crown, an attempt to make all incriminating evidence against either co-defendant to be attributable to the other.https://t.co/TWDiMnjMOA pic.twitter.com/amsBKcl23r
— Robert Kraychik (@rkraychik) November 27, 2023
Radcliffe shared some of Barber’s text messages sent during the Freedom Convoy that he said demonstrated the defendant’s intent and actions of a criminal nature, specifically in terms of obstructing public roads and interfering with people’s access to and enjoyment of private property.
“We are completely messing the city up,” Barber wrote in one text message. “We f–ked this town up,” he wrote in another.
Barber replied to someone remarking on gridlock in Ottawa during the demonstration. “It’s already locked,” he wrote, “We trainwrecked it.”
Radcliffe also said the parallel messaging of a political and philosophical between the two co-defendants and Freedom Convoy demonstrators was indicative of Barber’s and Lich’s control and influence over the protesters.
Protestors’ sign regarding “freedom” and “love over fear,” Radcliffe stated, echoed the public statements of Barber and Lich. The judge interjected by remarking that such messaging was common in political contexts.