OTTAWA, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) –– The trial of Freedom Convoy leaders Tamara Lich and Chris Barber resumed Monday with the defense arguing that a Crown request to make it so that criminal charges against one leader should apply to the other leaders as well should not be allowed to take place, as there is no evidence the pair worked in a conspiratorial manner.
The trial is currently seeing the defense counsel for Lich and Barber take their turn in calling forth witnesses before the court.
On Monday, counsel for Lich, Eric Granger said to the court, “Ultimately, our submission is what’s required in order to invoke the co-conspirators exception, if there’s something more, a plan that’s more focused and specific than an overarching commonality of purpose.”
Granger said that there needs to be a “very specific plan or common design that’s criminal in nature” in order to prove that Lich and Barber are somehow legally responsible for leading the Freedom Convoy in the commission of alleged crimes, a case he says the Crown does not have.
“And that’s where we ultimately are to say that the evidence falls short of establishing circumstantial evidence and agreement between more than one individual to engage in one of the various criminal plans alleged by the Crown,” he said.
As noted by The Democracy Fund (TDF), which is crowdfunding Lich’s legal costs, in a Day 28 trial update, Granger contended that after “27 days of trial and testimony from 16 witnesses, the Crown had failed to provide enough evidence to satisfy the three required elements of the Carter test [to prove conspiracy].”
“He particularly emphasized the absence of evidence pointing to a conspiracy between Lich and Barber, the lack of direct evidence against her, and the dearth of admissible acts or declarations,” added TDF.
Lich and Barber are facing multiple charges from the 2022 protests, including mischief, counseling mischief, counseling intimidation and obstructing police for taking part in and organizing the anti-mandate Freedom Convoy. As reported by LifeSiteNews at the time, despite the non-violent nature of the protest and the charges, Lich was jailed for weeks before she was granted bail.
Last week, on sitting day 27 of the trial, Lich and Barber’s legal counsel argued that the Crown to date has not been able to prove the organizers participated in a conspiracy to break the law or encourage others to break the law, and that therefore the case should be tossed altogether. The defense’s application came after the Crown abruptly decided to end its case last Monday, telling the court it would not call forth any new witnesses.
Defense argues Lich and Barber shouldn’t be responsible for each other’s statements
On Monday, the defense teams for Lich and Barber told the court they intended to bring forth two applications, the first being a call to dismiss the Crown’s “Carter application.”
The Crown’s so-called “Carter Application” asks that the judge consider “Barber’s statements and actions to establish the guilt of Lich, and vice versa,” TDF stated.
TDF noted that this type of application is very “complicated” and requires that the Crown prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that there was a “conspiracy or plan in place and that Lich was a party to it based on direct evidence.”
Granger argued that a specific and inherently unlawful “criminal plan was a prerequisite for establishing a conspiracy.”
He said that the alleged plan to lift “COVID-19 restrictions lacked inherent unlawfulness, distinguishing it from cases involving crimes like murder or drug trade.”
Granger then unpacked the “‘furtherance’ requirement, asserting that declarations were only admissible if made within the course of the conspiracy.”
Granger then scrutinized the “five conspiracies alleged by the Crown, highlighting their divergence from established legal precedents.”
TDF noted that Granger underscored the absence of “evidence linking Lich to any inherently unlawful objectives, pointing to instances where police provided assistance during protests. Granger further challenged the Crown’s claims of aiding and abetting, emphasizing the lack of any witness interactions with Lich.”
The full details of the defense’s second application brought before the court are not yet known, but the Crown, as noted by TDF, “expressed uncertainty about the nature of the second application and sought a court order compelling the defense to disclose details.”
Justice Heather Perkins-McVey however intervened, “asserting that she would not order the defense to reveal their case on record.”
“Instead, she suggested that the Crown could engage in discussions with the defense outside the courtroom,” noted TDF.
In early 2022, the Freedom Convoy saw thousands of Canadians from coast to coast come to Ottawa to demand an end to COVID mandates in all forms. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government enacted the Emergencies Act on February 14.
During the clear-out of protesters after the EA was put in place, one protester, an elderly lady, was trampled by a police horse, and one conservative female reporter was beaten by police and shot with a tear gas canister.
Lich and Barber’s trial has thus far taken more time than originally planned due to the slow pace of the Crown calling its witnesses. LifeSiteNews has been covering the trial extensively.