‘Freedom Convoy’ Trial: Ottawa Resident Testifies on ‘Intolerable’ Horn Honking

‘Freedom Convoy’ Trial: Ottawa Resident Testifies on ‘Intolerable’ Horn Honking
Big rigs form a blockade near the parliament building in Ottawa, Ontario, on Wednesday. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Local Describes ‘Incessant’ Disruption

Sarah Gawman, a local Ottawa resident, took the stand in a courtroom today describing the constant horn honking from the “Freedom Convoy” protest as “incessant and intolerable.” Gawman’s testimony marks the beginning of witness accounts from Ottawa locals in the criminal trial against protest organizers Tamara Lich and Chris Barber.

Gawman recounted her experience from her downtown Ottawa high-rise condo, “Trucks and other vehicles lined up in my neighbourhood as far as the eye could see.” She painted a vivid picture of the magnitude of the protest and the impact on local residents.

The evidence put forward by the Crown and defence in the criminal trial of two prominent “Freedom Convoy” organizers is so similar, it reflects something of a Rorschach test for how people feel about the massive protest, said associate criminology professor Michael Kempa. Tamara Lich arrives for her trial at the courthouse in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Witness Line-Up to Connect Disruptions to Organizers

The Crown prosecution has a plan to call on a series of witnesses. Alongside Gawman, four other local residents will be testifying, in addition to an employee from the National Arts Centre and another from OC Transpo, Ottawa’s public-transit operator.

The main objective of these testimonies, as per the Crown, is to detail the turmoil and disruptions caused by the protest, drawing connections to Lich and Barber. They intend to demonstrate that the two organizers played significant roles in the chaos that ensued during the convoy’s presence.

Dozens of truckers arrived in Ottawa over the weekend as part of a so-called “freedom convoy”

Judge Emphasizes Direct Observations

Justice Heather Perkins-McVey, presiding over the trial, emphasized that she will be ensuring witnesses strictly speak about what they directly observed. She highlighted that testimonies should refrain from delving into personal emotional effects of the protest. “I will make sure the witnesses stick to the things they observed first-hand,” Perkins-McVey said, adding that she wouldn’t allow them to discuss the ways the protest personally affected them.