The controversial “Freedom Convoy” is back in the headlines today as the court prepares to hear testimonies from Ottawa locals who experienced the protest first-hand. This new development is a part of the ongoing criminal trial against the protest’s primary organizers, Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, who are being prosecuted for their roles in organizing the demonstration against COVID-19 public-health measures.
The Heart of the Convoy
Early last year, Ottawa’s downtown became a hotspot for the protest as big rigs and large crowds took to the streets, demonstrating against the imposed public health measures.
Witnesses’ Testimonies Key to the Prosecution
The Crown, in its strategy, announced intentions to use the witnesses to provide evidence of the disruptions caused during the protest, intending to establish a direct link to Lich and Barber. “The Crown says it plans to ask the witnesses about the turmoil they observed during the protest,” one source mentioned.
However, the defence has been making strong efforts to prevent these testimonies from being heard. They argued that the evidence from the eight civilian witnesses from Ottawa would be irrelevant to the charges faced by Lich and Barber. This claim is founded on the fact that both organizers had previously signed admissions recognizing that mischief occurred during the protest.
Court’s Ruling on Witnesses
Justice Heather Perkins-McVey delivered a decisive ruling on Wednesday, giving the green light for the Crown to call upon the witnesses. Perkins-McVey emphasized, “I will make sure the witnesses stick to the things they observed first-hand.” She further stated that they won’t be allowed to divert into personal anecdotes about how the protest affected them.