Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich was released on bail again.
Lich faces charges of mischief, obstructing police, advising others to commit mischief, intimidation and, most recently, breaching bail for his role in the massive Ottawa winter protest that took place turned into an occupation against COVID-19 restrictions and the Liberal government.
After being charged with breaching bail conditions, Lich was ordered to remain in custody pending trial for her role in the protest that paralyzed downtown Ottawa in February .
She had been ordered not to communicate with the main organizers of the convoy, except through a lawyer or in the presence of a lawyer, but was arrested again after being in contact with another leader of the protest, Tom Marazzo, at an awards gala in Toronto last month.
Marazzo is also the leader of a group called Veterans 4 Freedom, which held several rallies in Ottawa over the Canada Day weekend.
In court on Monday, his attorney Lawrence Greenspon argued the two organizers did nothing more than shake hands and pose together for a photo at the gala.
She had spent 48 days in jail awaiting non-violent charges, Greenspon said. He added that she could end up spending more time in pre-trial detention than she would ultimately have to serve if convicted.
Crown attorney Moiz Karimjee disagreed, saying Lich could serve a lengthy prison sentence for his role in the protests in Ottawa.
On Tuesday morning, Judge Andrew Goodman overturned Lich’s detention, moving to a bail hearing de novo – essentially a fresh start as if the previous decision never happened.
Goodman challenged the Crown on Monday over whether he had found a case of mischief that comes close to the maximum sentence of 10 years.
“The answer is no, because there has never been an occupation of a city, the capital of Canada, for three weeks,” Karimjee said. “If not in a situation like this, then what other situation?”
On Tuesday, Goodman said he found that unlikely based on accusations that Lich would spend a lot of time in jail. He also noted that his charges were non-violent.
Lich’s trial date has not been set. This week was the fifth time Lich has appeared in court to seek release from prison pending trial.
The new terms of his bail include another $37,000 bond and tougher rules about communicating with the same list of convoy-related people as last time.
“It should be crystal clear to you now that the authorities are watching your every action,” Goodman told Lich.