Monday was day 17 of the trial of Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, the self-proclaimed Freedom 2022 Truck Convoy organizers. They are each charged with mischief, counseling others to commit mischief, intimidation, and obstructing police.
The Crown is trying to establish that Lich and Barber had “control and influence” over the crowds and encouraged others to join the protests while also continuing their fundraising.
The trial entered a contentious stage after the judge allowed local witnesses to be called by Crown lawyers, along with business owners and other residents affected by the demonstration and is trying to illustrate the scope, nature, and consequences of the protests and that it was peaceful.
Taking the stand was Zexi Li, a young public servant who gained notoriety when she filed a multi-million dollar class action against the Freedom Convoy organizers. During the height of the protests in February 2022, she obtained a court injunction banning honking in downtown Ottawa. She accomplished what Ottawa police could not do and silenced the convoy protesters.
Yesterday, she claimed that horns blared “most commonly” between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., with occasional blasts of horns throughout the night. She also described a “deafening” noise reminiscent of an air raid horn.
After the injunction against honking, she said protesters became “hostile” when she was taking pictures. She described calling the police after a truck backed into her. She also said she felt “intimidated” by an encounter with a trucker who shook his fist and honked his horn.
This is precisely the kind of testimony that defense lawyers Diane Magas (for Chris Barber) and Tamara Lich’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, were trying to stop from being heard at the trial.
The Crown will be calling more police witnesses as the trial extends beyond the original expected length of 16 days.