After a two-day bail review held this week, Freedom Convoy leader Tamara Lich will find out on Wednesday whether or not she is going back to jail.
Lich, an organizer of the Ottawa protest that paralyzed the city for weeks, was seeking a change to her bail conditions that would allow her to return to Ontario and use social media. Crown attorneys have charged her with breaching bail conditions and are expected to return to jail.
Lich, who is charged jointly with fellow convoy organizer Chris Barber, is charged with mischief, council of mischief, obstruction of police, council to obstruct police, council of intimidation and intimidation by blocking and obstructing one or more highways in connection with the demonstration.
She has been out on bail since March 7.
“I saw no harm” in Freedom Convoy jewelry
At Friday’s bail review, Crown Attorney Moiz Karimjee showed a social media post showing Lich wearing a pendant that had been given to him. The pendant features an image of a truck and the words “Freedom” and “Canada” engraved on it.
Lich, testifying by video from Alberta, said the pendant was given to him and disagreed with Karimjee that allowing it to be posted online violated bail conditions compelling him not to “verbally, in writing, financially, or otherwise support anything related to the Freedom Convoy.”
The photo of Lich wearing the collar was posted on a Freedom Convoy group page which states “a portion of the sale will be donated to Truckers Convoy.”
Lich said it didn’t support anything related to the Freedom Convoy, in part because “there’s no convoy to support”.
“I don’t see how it’s a breach. It’s a jewel that was given to me,” Lich said. “I really didn’t see anything wrong with it.”
She said she took the photo because she was “grateful” someone had sent her “such a beautiful gift”.
Lich said she assumed whoever sent the pendant and requested the photo would post it on a personal page.
The surety responsible for ensuring Lich adheres to his bail conditions, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, said she was unaware of the existence of the post or photo.
The ban on social networks “comparable to exile”
Lich is looking to get back on social media. Currently, she can text and call people, but she does not have access to social media platforms.
She said she would like to connect with her family and friends who post and message her on social media.
“We now live in the world of social media, I think being completely banned from social media is like being exiled in the old days,” Lich told the court. “I personally don’t see why I can’t use my own social media and even connect to it and stay connected, that’s what it’s really about, staying connected.”
During questioning by defense attorney Lawrence Greenspon on Thursday, Lich said she also wanted her bail conditions changed to allow her to travel to Ottawa. The reasons are subject to a judicial publication ban and may not be disclosed.
She also testified that she “would love to attend” an event in Toronto in June to accept a freedom award, “but I will not violate my bail conditions to do so.”
Convoy leader diploma
On March 28, a charity called the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms emailed Lich to let her know she had been shortlisted for its 2022 George Jonas Freedom Award, she told the court.
The email, which she read aloud, said the honor was given “in recognition of your leadership role in the Freedom Convoy.”
the announcement of the price on the center’s website says Lich “took the initiative to help organize a peaceful protest and be one of its leaders. The resulting peaceful protest in Ottawa woke up many Canadians to the injustice of Charter-violating lockdowns and mandatory vaccination policies.”
The day after receiving the email, Lich emailed back to say she was “honoured” to accept. She didn’t ask if everything would be okay, she testified under cross-examination by Karimjee.
When asked if by accepting the award she was supporting something related to the convoy, Lich replied, “I guess so. I guess so.
“I don’t think that’s a violation. I don’t think that’s what recognition is for. … I think recognition is about inspiring Canadians to hold the government accountable for the rule of law and defend their Charter rights,” she continued.
“I guess it’s related, because of what happened,” she added.
Lich arrested in February
Lich was arrested on February 17 and initially charged with counseling to commit mischief, shortly before a major police operation cleared protesters and vehicles from Ottawa streets.
She was initially denied bail by Ontario Court Judge Julie Bourgeois, who told the court she sometimes found Lich guarded and “almost obstructive,” and who n I wasn’t convinced that Lich would go home, stay home, and stop her alleged consultations.
Lich and his attorney at the time, Diane Magas, appealed Bourgeois’ decision, leading to his first bail review in higher court in early March.
Superior Court Judge John Johnston ruled in Lich’s favor after the day-long proceeding, saying she had been a “valued employee” in Alberta and had lived a “crime-free” life. and that the risk in Ottawa had been minimized after police cleared streets.
Lich was released after spending approximately 18 days in custody at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre. Other bail conditions included that she leave Ottawa within 24 hours, refrain from using social media and have no contact with certain co-organizers.
Her surety – who cannot be identified due to a court-ordered publication ban – posted $20,000 cash bond, while Lich herself posted an additional $5,000 cash bond.