Featured Image
Tamara LichYouTube

OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) – During the second day of the trial for Freedom Convoy leaders Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, an Ottawa police officer testified that he was under direct orders to not give protesters an “inch” and allow them to protest closer to Canada’s Parliament building, which he said would have mitigated disruptions to the city.

“OPS (Ontario Provincial Police) was expecting about 1,000 vehicles, but more than 5,000 came before the end of the last weekend in January,” The Democracy Fund (TDF) noted yesterday on X (formerly Twitter).

The TDF said that about two-thirds of the protesters left by the end of the “last weekend in January. But the footprint of the protest was the same and the police were unable to shrink it.”

“The OPS traffic plan did not work for footprint of the protest,” the TDF said.

“Witness wanted to use public liaison officers to shrink the protest and concentrate it on Wellington, but he was directed by command not to give ‘one inch’ to the protesters.”

The “witness,” or Ottawa Police Service Inspector Lucas Russell, was the incident commander for the Freedom Convoy and made the admission on Wednesday during Lich and Barber’s trial, which began Tuesday. He said that he was told not to allow protesters a way to reduce the vehicle traffic size despite the fact talks were already underway with Freedom Convoy leaders to help lessen the impact on Ottawa residents.

In a day two statement update, the TDF noted that the day began with the Crown calling for “background evidence about the Freedom Convoy protests.”

The TDF then elaborated on Russell’s testimony, saying that he told the court how the OPS “vastly underestimated the number of trucks and personal vehicles coming to Ottawa in the early days of the protest.”

“He further testified about a traffic plan and stated that he endorsed a plan to concentrate the parking of trucks on Wellington Street as it would strike the right balance between protecting the right to protest and public safety,” the TDF stated.

In the courtroom, Lucas explained that this plan would have placed protesters close to Parliament, “where they wanted to be, while it would simultaneously mitigate disruptions to the city and put the police in a better position to manage the protest than if it were more widespread.”

The TDF noted that this plan was “unfortunately” overruled by the “Chief of Police who directed officers not to give ‘one inch’ to the protesters, by which he meant not letting any more trucks onto Wellington Street.”

The TDF is crowdfunding Lich’s legal costs. Lawrence Greenspon, a senior and well-known Ottawa criminal lawyer, is representing her.

As for Barber, he is relying on local fundraisers to help pay for his legal defense.

On day one of the trial, the TDF observed that the judge overseeing the court case is clearly “not being led by the crown.”

Also on day one, it was revealed that the Crown intends to bring forth a “Carter Application,” in which it will “be asking the judge to use Barber’s statements and actions to establish the guilt of Lich, and vice versa.”

The 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.”

In early 2022, the “Freedom Convoy” of thousands of Canadians from coast to coast came to Ottawa demanding an end to COVID mandates in all forms. The peaceful protest was unprecedented in Canadian history.

There was ‘no violence’ from truckers against police

During cross-examination of the witness, there was talk about a “code of conduct” and a “registration form” for truckers.

The TDF noted that the court also heard that there was “no violence against police by the protesters.”

“Finally, there was evidence about efforts made by Tamara Lich and her then lawyers to strike a deal with the city to move truckers onto Wellington. More evidence is expected to come out on these points in the coming days,” the TDF said.

A second witness, Officer Elizabeth Cyr, was called Wednesday. She testified that she was one of 20 Public Liaison Officers (PLT) who was assigned to the protests.

“The role of the PLT is to liaise and negotiate with protesters for the purpose of protecting public safety,” the TDF explained.

Cyr continued her testimony into Thursday.

The prosecution will have about 10 days to prove its case with the crown, calling forth some 22 witnesses, those being Ontario Provincial Police members, senior Ottawa city officials, downtown Ottawa residents, peace officers, and potentially former Mayor Jim Watson of Ottawa, who was seen at the courthouse Tuesday.

The TDF noted that the crown “intends to enter over 100 exhibits, including video and social media evidence relating to the protests.”

Lich was first arrested on February 17, 2022, only two days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau enacted the Emergencies Act (EA), which he claimed was needed to deal with the Freedom Convoy protesters.

Trudeau revoked the EA on February 23, 2022.

Lich and Barber were charged with multiple offenses in 2022 such as mischief and obstructing police for taking part in and organizing the Freedom Convoy, counseling mischief and counseling intimidation. As reported by LifeSiteNews, Lich was then jailed for weeks on the non-violent mischief charges.