Tamara Lich’s bail breach charge stayed in ‘Freedom Convoy’ trial

Click to play video: 'Lawyers for ‘Freedom Convoy’ organizers attempt to block Ottawa residents from testifying'
Lawyers for ‘Freedom Convoy’ organizers attempt to block Ottawa residents from testifying
The lawyers defending two of the most prominent organizers of the "Freedom Convoy" protests are expected to make their case today to block nine Ottawa residents and business representatives from taking the stand – Sep 11, 2023

The Crown is no longer pursuing a criminal charge against “Freedom Convoy” organizer Tamara Lich that alleged she violated her bail conditions last summer.

The bail violation was scheduled to be heard in court next week, but the Crown stayed the charge in the hopes of using some of that time to deal with Lich’s main charges.

“Given that the substantive matter has gone on longer than anticipated, the Crown wishes to prioritize it and see that it is competed in a timely fashion,” Crown attorney Siobhain Wetscher explained in court Monday.

Lich was released on bail in early 2022 after spending more than two weeks in jail following her arrest in the final days of the protest.

She was allowed to return home to Alberta with a lengthy list of conditions, including that she not communicate with fellow convoy organizers.

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Later that summer, she was arrested in Alberta on a Canada-wide warrant after being photographed with one of those organizers at an awards ceremony in Toronto.

Click to play video: 'Tamara Lich, ‘Freedom Convoy’ organizer, granted new bail hearing'
Tamara Lich, ‘Freedom Convoy’ organizer, granted new bail hearing

She spent another month in jail before being released again.

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Lich’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, said the breach charge never should have been laid in the first place.

“Had there been a proper investigation before Tamara Lich was arrested, shackled, hauled halfway across the country and then kept in jail for 30 days, they would have realized that her then-counsel were present at the time and therefore these charges should never have been laid,” he said outside court on Monday.

He said Lich is relieved that the charge has been stayed.

“She’s been looking forward to this being one less thing that she has to respond to,” he said.

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Lich and her co-accused Chris Barber are on trial for mischief, counselling others to commit mischief, intimidation and other charges.

Click to play video: 'Looking back at the ‘Freedom Convoy’ 1 year later'
Looking back at the ‘Freedom Convoy’ 1 year later

The trial was originally scheduled to be finished on Oct. 13, but the Crown is expected to call more witnesses before it completes its case.

The lawyers have struggled to set time to continue the trial because of conflicting schedules and scarce court time.

Barber’s lawyer Diane Magas has already warned that if the delays continue she will consider making a Jordan application. The Supreme Court has ruled that any person charged with a crime has the right to be tried within a reasonable time frame.

The trial is expected to continue on Thursday.

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