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Crown seeks prison time for Kelowna freedom rally organizer

FILE. David Lindsay. Global News

A Kelowna courtroom was packed Friday with supporters of a high-profile freedom rally organizer being sentenced for assaulting two security guards as he tried to gain entry to an Interior Health building at the height of the pandemic.

David Lindsay’s court date brought in its usual contingent of supporters, keen on expressing their affection for the well-established vexatious litigant who led them in multiple protests against government orders aimed at curtailing the spread of COVID-19.

The difference with this gathering, however, is that there’s a very real possibility that it will end in Lindsay’s incarceration.

Crown Coun. David Grabavac spent hours Friday morning making a case for one year of prison time for Lindsay.

“I would submit that this offender, Mr. Lindsay, falls into the worst category of offenders,” Grabavac said of the assault that left nobody physically injured.

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Click to play video: '‘Freedom rally’ protester’s assault trial gets off to a rocky start'
‘Freedom rally’ protester’s assault trial gets off to a rocky start

The court heard that on Aug. 19, 2021 Lindsay had told the guards he planned to enter the building despite being banned just eight days earlier. He was told by RCMP officers that he would be arrested if he tried to go into the building but he still went on to tell  the guards he had the right to access the building.

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He then stepped forward and lightly pushed his chest into two of the guards blocking the doorway.

Lindsay argued that not only had he not assaulted the guards, but they had committed assault against him by pushing forward into his chest when he stepped forward. This line of defence didn’t have much sway.

“It’s hard to compare assaults … you’re not counting three axe wounds, not counting four punches, we’re looking at all the circumstances and pushing a doctor or pushing the healthcare worker can be more significant than punching somebody and dropping them to the ground,” Grabavac said.

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Click to play video: 'Head organizer for Kelowna freedom rallies back in court'
Head organizer for Kelowna freedom rallies back in court

That’s why, he said, sentencing can be so important.

Grabavac painted a picture of a man who has no regard for the law, and whose anti-establishment and, at times, criminal behaviour has escalated over several decades.

Lindsay first ran afoul of the law in the 1980s, when he was convicted in Winnipeg of theft. Then he went on to be arrested for denying a breathalyzer, later he tried to get away from tax issues.

In all, he has seven convictions on his record and has  60 days in jail in the past, all of which for non-violent offences.

The incident at the Interior Health building, shows what Grabavac described as an escalation of unlawful behaviour, with a group of “followers” Grabavac called bullies on multiple occasions.

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“His record indicates defiance and opposition to authority. His record indicates defiance to the rule of law,” Grabavac said.

“The accused received the 60-day custodial sentence for nonviolent offences. They didn’t deter him from assaults on Mr. Smith and Mr. Davis in front of the uniformed officers after being warned not once, not twice, but three times by three different agencies: The RCMP,  Interior Health and Paladin security.”

This, Grabavac said, is why a significant sentence well above 60 days of custody is “demanded in this case.”

Lindsay was posed to make his sentencing submission in the afternoon.

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