The judge in the criminal trial of Freedom Convoy figures Tamara Lich and Chris Barber ruled Friday that the prosecution must reveal some redacted portions of emails between themselves and the Ottawa Police Service.
The pair are charged with mischief, counseling others to commit mischief, intimidation, and obstructing police as leaders of the Freedom Convoy that polarized residents of Ottawa in 2022 and arguably began to roll back Covid mandates.
Justice Heather Perkins-McVey said some of the censored material should be admissible as evidence.
Although the judge agreed with the defense that some of the redacted conversations are protected by solicitor-client privilege, a lot of the material reveals the opinions and conceptions of police officers and this should be part of the court proceedings.
The decision may be seen as a loss for the prosecution lawyers who have maintained that the documents should remain censored because they focused on the advice of lawyers and were irrelevant to the trial.
The documents in question are a cache of emails as well as an explanation of how police officers were experiencing a software update on their official cell phones.
That update resulted in the wiping of police phones, and the deleting of vital messages between Convoy organizers and the police liaison officers that the city had established for them.
The upgrade controversially occurred right after the Freedom Convoy protest was crushed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s invocation of the Emergencies Act, never-before-used legislation that ushered in martial law in the city of Ottawa.
The defense has argued that the evidence provided by police liaison officers is vital to determine whether Lich or Barber committed any crime. The liaison officers were constantly texting, calling and speaking with protesters and the defense maintains that the credibility of those officers must be assessed.
Lawrence Greenspon, attorney for Tamara Lich, recently expressed his frustration and disbelief over how long the trial has continued. The trial began after the Labor Day weekend in September 2023. In an Epoch Times interview, Greenspon said, “I’ve done murder trials, other far more serious criminal cases. The amount of energy and resources being put into this… we’re going to have the Freedom Convoy trial lasting longer than the Freedom Convoy itself.”
Greenspon added that he has yet to see the prosecution present any evidence to back up the charges leveled against Lich and Barber.
“Tamara Lich and Chris Barber are charged with mischief and other related charges, the idea being that they counseled or encouraged truckers to come to Ottawa, stay in Ottawa, and to commit various unlawful acts. But so far, the evidence hasn't supported that Crown theory at all.”
The trial is in recess for three weeks.