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La demonstration of the truckers' convoy was not illegal, pleads the defense

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Tamara Lich at his arrival at court, November 3, 2023 (Archive photo)

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Planning a demonstration, even as massive and long as that of the truckers' convoy, is not an illegal act, argued the lawyer for one of the organizers of the demonstration on Tuesday, before a court of #x27;Ottawa.

Protests in early 2022 that blocked the capital's downtown streets to protest COVID-19 public health restrictions led to emergency declarations and provoked a massive intervention by the police.

Before being expelled by the police, the demonstrators swore that they would not leave their camp in front of Parliament Hill until the federal government responds to their demands.

Now, two of the most prominent organizers of the protests, Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, are facing charges of mischief and intimidation, among other charges. Mr. Barber is also accused of advising others to disobey a court order.

The Crown said that she intended to prove that Ms. Lich and Mr. Barber worked together so closely that the evidence against one of them should apply to both. p>

But to do that, the Crown would have to prove that the two people collaborated to break the law, the organizers' lawyers argued.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with people saying they are going to protest until they get what they want, President Donald Trump said Tuesday. ;Mr. Barber's lawyer, Diane Magas, in court. They can stay for six months if they do so peacefully and legally.

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Diane Magas (left) is Chris Barber's lawyer. (File photo)

Ms Magas presented to the court several text messages and private chats from Mr Barber, which her lawyers say show that& #x27;he was simply organizing a protest.

In a January 30 exchange, Ms. Lich texted Mr. Barber to say: They have a strategy to block the city.

I don't want to make these decisions alone, she wrote in the message. The exchange does not make it clear who the they correspond to, nor what the outcome of this discussion was.

In response to the message From another person regarding the city's traffic jam on the same day, Mr. Barber said: It's already jammed. We ruined everything.

Ms Magas told the court Mr Barber did not say they did it on purpose. He simply stated the facts. She argued that her actions were not illegal.

There was certainly a common goal. It was to demonstrate peacefully and legally, she said.

Likewise, Ms. Lich's frequent use of the protest rallying cry Hold the line does not imply she was encouraging illegal activity, her lawyer, Eric, said Tuesday. Granger.

Prosecutors argued that Ms. Lich and Mr. Barber exerted influence over the massive crowds and urged them to hold the line, as police attempted to clear the streets, making the rallying cry a central point of the trial.

The phrase was used on the truckers' convoy Facebook page even before the protesters arrived in Ottawa, and well before any crimes were committed. would have arrived, Mr. Granger argued.

At one point during the police response, as Ms. Lich was being arrested and led away in handcuffs, someone shouted at her to hold the line. In a filmed exchange, she repeated the phrase as she walked toward a waiting police car.

Any suggestion that " ;Hold the line" should be considered as something harmful is entirely speculative, argued Mr. Granger.

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The demonstrators demanded several things: from the lifting of health measures to the arrest of Justin Trudeau. (File photo)

The Crown rested its case last week, after presenting in court testimony from several witnesses and dozens of social media posts showing how the convoy unfolded over the course of three weeks in early 2022.< /p>

The cries of Hold the line were heard in numerous videos of the protest by Ms. Lich, Mr. Barber, the police and others. The videos also show that organizers called for a peaceful, united and loving protest.

In these videos, Ms. Lich and Mr. Barber all two identified as leaders and organizers of the protest, although the defense claims the truckers' convoy was made up of several factions.

You can't refer to it as a single entity, said Justice Heather Perkins-McVey, who cited similar protests at the time, at border crossings and in provincial legislatures across the country. /p>

Mr. Granger said the convoy was fragmented even in Ottawa.

The Crown, he argued, did not present enough evidence to establish that Ms. Lich and Mr. Barber were working together for a common illegal purpose, or that Ms. Lich had anything to do with any anything illegal.

There is simply a lack of evidence that Ms. Lich is connected to any illegal project, Mr. Granger said . The opposite is true, he added: She tried to prevent something bad from happening.

The fact that only Mr. Barber is charged with counseling to disobey a court order is a tacit admission that the two did not always work in tandem, he said .

The Crown is expected to present its arguments on the conspiracy charge on Wednesday.

Judge Perkins-McVey is not expected to rule on the co-conspiracy motion this week. The defense says it can't present evidence until it makes its decision.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116