The lawyers defending two of the most prominent organizers of the “Freedom Convoy” protests are attempting to block nine Ottawa residents and business representatives from taking the stand.
Tamara Lich and Chris Barber are on trial for criminal charges related to their role in the demonstration, which blockaded Ottawa city streets for weeks last year as protesters railed against COVID-19 public health measures.
The Crown plans to call five Ottawa residents as witnesses in the case, including Zexi Li, who filed a class-action lawsuit against the organizers on behalf of people who live and work in downtown Ottawa.
The Crown also intends to call the owner of a women’s clothing boutique and employees from the National Arts Centre, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier hotel and the public transit operator.
Lich’s lawyer Lawrence Greenspon says those witnesses should not be allowed to testify because Lich and Barber have already filed signed admissions that the protest interfered with public transit, and the lawful use and enjoyment of property and businesses.
The Crown lawyers have not accepted the organizer’s admission and are arguing for the right to call their witnesses.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 11, 2023.