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The trial for the two remaining members of the Coutts Four facing charges is underway in Lethbridge. Anthony Olienick and Chris Carbert, charged with conspiracy to commit murder during the 2022 Coutts, Alberta, border blockade, are standing trial in Lethbridge, Alta. 

Opening testimony began on Thursday and was heard by a jury. The trial was delayed out of the gate by matters covered by a publication ban.

The charges against Olienick and Carbert stem from their participation in the protest against COVID-19 mandates at the Coutts border blockade. Initially, four men were charged with conspiring to kill RCMP officers.

Two of the four members, Chris Lysak and Jerry Morin, accepted a plea deal on lesser charges in February. The conspiracy to commit murder charges were dropped, and the two men were released.

Olienick and Carbert remain in custody on allegations that they conspired to murder RCMP members who were policing the border protests at the Coutts international crossing into Montana. The RCMP discovered a cache of weapons, body armour, and ammunition in trailers, leading to the allegations and subsequent arrests. 

Olienick and Carbert have pleaded not guilty to all charges, which also include mischief and possession of weapons for a dangerous purpose. Olienick faces an additional charge of possessing a pipe bomb.

About fifty supporters of the two men were present in the courtroom when the trial began. 

Outside, chalk messages reading “Free the Coutts Boys” and “Justice for Tony + Chris. Free Them Now” were scrawled on the sidewalk.

Independent journalist Mocha Bezirgan interviewed a retired federal correctional officer outside of the courthouse who said she had been “responsible for the incarceration of some of Canada’s most notorious criminals” and likened the Coutts Four’s ordeal to “torture.”

Olienick and Carbert have now spent over 840 days in remand awaiting trial.

“I still don’t believe people should be tortured in our country. And I really believe that what the men are experiencing in remand for two and a half years is torture. Torturous,” she said.

The trial is expected to last until July.