Defence lawyers representing Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich and Chris Barber began laying out their case on Monday in Ottawa, arguing there was no evidence to suggest either of the two participated in unlawful activity.
Lich’s lawyer, Eric Granger and the defence teams argued that the evidence presented should only be applied to either Lich or Barber specifically, but not both at the same time.
The two are co-accused of mischief and intimidation, along with other charges, stemming from the February 2022 protest against Covid-19 restrictions in the nation’s capital.
Last Monday, the Crown concluded its case following weeks of testimony regarding the nature of the protest, arguing that Lich and Barber wielded influence over the protesters’ actions.
Granger said that holding a peaceful demonstration against pandemic mandates is not illegal, nor is inviting others to do so as it does not incite people to commit criminal offences.
He also told the court that none of Crown’s witnesses had testified that they had had any communication with Lich.
The Crown alleged that protestors criminally obstructed traffic and the highway, as well as public property, however, Granger argued that Lich could not aid or encourage a crime without the knowledge of that crime taking place.
The Crown presented hours of videos posted to social media by Lich and Barber that showed demonstrators in the events leading up to their arrests, as police began forcibly removing protesters from downtown Ottawa.
Within those videos, Lich and Barber were identified as leaders of the Freedom Convoy and that they were relaying messages to other protesters.
Barber’s defence lawyer pointed out that in those videos, Barber called for protesters to remain peaceful and to respect Ottawa police and the city’s residents.
Last Tuesday, the defence filed a motion arguing that Lich and Barber shouldn’t be perceived to be co-conspirators as their actions weren’t criminal.
A ruling on the motion is unlikely to be made this week, according to Justice Heather Perkins-McVey.