Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Procès Lich- Barber: the accused back in court for a day

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Tamara Lich, one of the organizers of the convoy of truckers, speaks with police officers on February 17, 2022. (File photo)


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As the second anniversary of the truckers' convoy in Ottawa approaches, two of the main organizers of the demonstration are back at the front court Thursday, as their trial drags on.

Tamara Lich and Chris Barber returned to the Ottawa courthouse for the continuation of their trial which lasted well beyond the 16 days initially scheduled. The court has so far only reserved one day for the remainder of the trial.

Arrested on February 17, 2022, a day before police began evicting protesters from the streets of the capital, Ms. Lich and Mr. Barber are accused of mischief, obstructing the work of police officers, advising commit mischief and intimidation in the context of blocking.

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Chris Barber upon his arrival at the Ottawa courthouse, September 19, 2023 (Archive photo)

The trial, which began on September 5, aims to determine whether the defendants should be punished for the role they played during the protests that paralyzed the central city, and if so, what their sentence will be.

Legal wrangling, technical glitches, poorly prepared witnesses and irregularities in the way police evidence was disclosed have slowed proceedings.

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Aside from Thursday's hearing, no other court dates have been confirmed. The trial, however, is closer to the finish line than the start.

The challenge now lies in the limited availability of trial dates. x27;hearing for the continuation of the trial.

On Thursday, the defense for Tamara Lich and Chris Barber is expected to continue to argue that the Crown has not presented enough evidence to prove that the two accused conspired in the blocking, in particular.

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Organizers of the truckers' convoy, Tamara Lich (left) and Chris Barber, chat while waiting for the State of Emergency Commission to begin its work on November 1, 2022, in Ottawa. (File photo)

Defense lawyers Lawrence Greenspon and Eric Granger, representing Tamara Lich, and Diane Magas and Marwa Younes, representing Chris Barber, told the court they needed about five more days to prepare their defense .

It is unclear what evidence they will present and neither defendant expects to testify. Defense lawyers argued throughout the trial that Ms. Lich and Mr. Barber cooperated with police and municipal authorities and remained peaceful during their stay in Ottawa.

Chris Barber, of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, was released one day after being taken into custody. Tamara Lich, of Medicine Hat, Alta., spent 49 days in jail, spread over two stints. She was arrested a first time during the demonstration, then a second time, this time for violating her bail conditions.

Thursday's proceedings are expected to open with arguments over the admissibility of court transcripts of two injunctions ordering protesters to stop honking horns during demonstrations.

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Trucks parked on the corner of Metcalfe and Slater streets in downtown Ottawa, February 2, 2022. (File photo )

Chris Barber also faces an additional charge for disobeying this court order.

In a video taken from Chris Barber's TikTok account a few days after the injunction was granted, he is seen suggesting truckers grab their horns and leave them on for as long as possible if police try to to dislodge them.

Judge Heather Perkins-McVey, who is overseeing the proceedings, will have to rule on whether or not the two defendants acted in part of a conspiracy.

Crown prosecutors Tim Radcliffe and Siobhain Wetscher argued that Ms. Lich and Mr. Barber crossed the line by committing the crimes they are accused of.

They heard testimonies from the police and residents. They also presented hours of video evidence from social media and text messages to demonstrate that both defendants exercised control and influence during the blockade.

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The convoy of truckers paralyzed the city center of the federal capital for several weeks.

They also sought to establish that Ms. Lich and Mr. Barber collaborated in a conspiracy to commit the crimes of which they are accused. For this reason, the Crown believes that the evidence against one of them should apply to both.

The defense, for its part, argues that the Crown had not sufficiently proven that the accused had an illegal objective in planning the demonstration.

Once the trial is over, the judge has six months to make her decision. A guilty verdict on a misdemeanor charge can result in a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

With information from David Fraser from CBC News

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