UPDATE: Lich, Barber won’t testify when their trial resumes in August

Freedom Convoy organizer Chris Barber outside the Ottawa Courthouse. (Alayne McGregor/The BUZZ)
Freedom Convoy organizer Chris Barber (left) outside the Ottawa Courthouse. (Alayne McGregor/The BUZZ)

UPDATE: March 15, 2024

Alayne McGregor

Tamara Lich and Chris Barber will not testify in their own defense when their trial resumes in mid-August.

The two organizers of the 2022 Freedom Convoy occupation of downtown Ottawa are both charged with mischief, obstructing police, and counselling others to commit mischief and intimidation for their roles in the protest. Barber is also charged with counselling others to disobey a court order.

Lich’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, told The BUZZ that the defense will not be calling any witnesses when the trial resumes. The Crown will makes its final submissions August 13 to 15, and the two defense teams theirs from August 19 to 23. Judge Heather Perkins-McVey will then have further time to issue a verdict.

Lich and Barber were in court March 13 to 15. Their defense teams asked the judge to consider several TikTok videos produced by Barber and posted to the Freedom Convoy Facebook page in the same context as other Barber TikTok videos which the Crown had introduced as evidence. The judge allowed two: one in which Barber denounced the self-proclaimed “Queen of Canada” Romana Didulo, calling her toxic, saying “this is our movement, not yours,” and telling her to go home; and one from February 7 in which he talked about riot police being about to appear.

The defense also requested that the judge first make a ruling on the Crown’s “Carter” application that Lich and Barber acted together in a “conspiracy or common design” and then go to final submissions. Earlier this month, the judge rejected a defense motion to dismiss that application out of hand.

The judge ruled on March 15 that she would hear any submissions on Carter as the same time as the final submissions. She noted that the defense could not find any examples in the last 40 years of a Carter ruling being issued first. She said there were many intersecting and interwoven parts between the Carter application and the verdict and she needed to consider them as a whole.

The trial began last September and was supposed to wrap up in October, but has been delayed by many factors, including debates over evidence admissibility, audio-visual problems and lack of rooms at the courthouse, unprepared witnesses, and scheduling issues.

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