Freedom Convoy Leaders Face Court for Inflammatory Anti-COVID Protest Tactics


In a recent trial, the Crown prosecutor asserted that Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, two individuals at the heart of the “Freedom Convoy” protests, are facing court not for their politicized perspectives on COVID-19 public health regulations, but for their inflammatory methods employed to challenge these directives.

Their trial, which extends for 16 days, began with the prosecutor, Tim Radcliffe, painting a vivid scene of the key role played by Lich and Barber in the tumultuous protest that paralyzed downtown Ottawa and vicinity of Parliament Hill over a three-week period in the early months of 2022, ending only when law enforcement cleared the chaos from the streets.

Radcliffe underlined the volatile nature of the situation stating, “This occupation was anything but peaceful.” The pair, Lich from Medicine Hat and Barber, a resident of Swift Current, composed part of the germinal group that rallied a convoy of trucks and other vehicles to rally in Ottawa opposing public health orders with a larger target of criticizing the federal Liberal government.

The two are indicted with laying charges of mischief, goading others to conduct mischief, intimidation, and obstruction of police. Barber, the proprietor of a trucking firm in Saskatchewan, faces additional accusations of inciting others to transgress a legal prohibition against raucous honking in the city center.

Lich and Barber have both admitted to the court that the actions of “certain individuals” brought disruption and interference to the lawful operation of businesses and public spaces in downtown Ottawa. Lich has further conceded her role as a central figure, organizer, and official spokesperson for the “Freedom Convoy.”

In their court appearance, the two defendants sat placidly on the front bench as the Crown articulated its preliminary arguments.

Radcliffe established the Crown’s stance, emphasizing an alleged pattern of behavior of Lich and Barber encouraging participation in the protest and sustained presence in Ottawa, using their “infamous ‘hold the line’ rallying cry.” The pair stood accused of exerting pressure on decision-makers and exerting significant influence over practical decisions such as vehicle placement— all towards the political goal to terminate pandemic health legislation like vaccine mandates.

The Crown hopes to demonstrate that Barber and Lich were locked in tandem in their efforts, thereby rendering evidence against one applicable to both.

Justice Heather Perkins-McVey, ensuring maximum public access due to the case’s significance, had called for the largest courtroom. Recognizing the Crown’s claims as not evidence but a perspective, she requested the public to maintain decorum during the prosecutor’s opening remarks.

Foreseeing the presentation of over 100 evidence pieces and 22 witnesses, the Crown expects to corroborate that Barber and Lich were pivotal in the movement culminating in the contentious “occupation” of downtown Ottawa.

Lich and Barber’s defense countered the term “occupation,” arguing it was “inflammatory, inaccurate, and insensitive.” They also hoped to truncate the proceedings by admitting the protest’s disruptive nature to avoid nine additional witnesses. Among those expected to testify were local residents, businessmen, and city transit operator employees.

As the trial progresses, the Crown intends to leverage fifty videos, including those filmed by the defendants, to substantiate their case. Despite this, defense lawyers remain confident, challenging the Crown’s narrative and painting a contrasting picture of the proceedings.

The ultimate outcome remains to be seen in the controversial case that has garnered national attention.


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