After serving nearly two years behind bars following charges for conspiracy to commit murder, Coutts Four members Chris Lysak and Jerry Morin have accepted a plea deal on lesser charges. 

The conspiracy to commit murder charges have been dropped, and the two men were released Tuesday afternoon. 

Bridge City News confirmed on X that Lysak pleaded guilty to a restricted weapons charge, and Morin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic a firearm. 

Justice Vaughan Hartigan accepted a joint recommendation by Crown prosecutors and defence counsel Daniel Song and Greg Dunn, resulting in both men being handed the equivalent sentences of time already served in custody.

The recommendation amounted to a sentence of three years for Lysak and about three and a half years for Morin.

Typically, detainees awaiting trial receive a credit of 1.5 days for each day served. Morin received additional credits for spending 74 days in solitary confinement, which received a multiplier of three days.

The initial allegations against the four men emerged from their participation in the 2022 Coutts border blockade, an event that culminated in the confiscation of a substantial cache of weapons by the RCMP, leading to serious accusations, including the alleged conspiracy to kill RCMP officers.

Morin’s lawyer released a statement on behalf of his client following the court proceeding.

“Mr. Morin has steadfastly maintained from the very beginning that he played no part of any alleged conspiracy to murder police officers and is relieved and grateful that those charges, and associated allegations, have been withdrawn by the Crown,” said Dunn.

“Moreover, the charge that Mr. Morin plead guilty to does not suggest that Mr. Morin at any time took firearms into Coutts, only that he agreed to,” he added. “It is unfortunate that Mr. Morin has spent two years of his life in custody awaiting this day.”

Lysak’s lawyer also emailed a statement to the Calgary Herald.

“To be clear, Mr. Lysak did not admit to possessing his handgun for a dangerous purpose. He did not attend the Coutts protests with the intent to harm anyone. He admits that his firearm was loaded with ammunition at the time of the police seizure, but denies having loaded and chambered the gun,” said Song.

A friend of Lysak’s called the whole ordeal a “miscarriage of justice.”

“To hold Canadians pre-trial for this length of time on a charge such as a restricted firearm or weapons trafficking, that’s unheard of,” Marco Van Huigenbos told independent journalist Mocha Bezirgan.

Van Huigenbos said that given the public attention to this case, having the two men plead guilty to lesser charges may have been a tactic.

“Because at this point, we now have guilty pleas, and a lot of people will say, ‘See, I told you so.’ (Serving) 723 days pre-trial is a travesty of justice in Canada, and it has to be treated as such. And there has to be a full inquiry into these prosecutions.”

The other two accused, Chris Carbert and Anthony Olienick, remain in custody on allegations that they conspired to murder RCMP members who were policing the border protest at the Coutts international crossing into Montana. 

Their trial is scheduled for June.