Lich awaits Friday bail decision after Crown produces texts discussing strategy to ‘grind down’ town

Lich was arrested in Medicine Hat on June 27 and police escorted her to Ottawa on a Canada-wide warrant after she was charged with violating one of the conditions of her bail, which prevents her from having direct or indirect contact with others. convoy organizers.

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Tamara Lich will learn on Friday if she will be released or remain in custody at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Center after her lawyers defied the Crown’s latest attempt to return the accused leader of the “Freedom Convoy” to jail.

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Deputy prosecutor Moiz Karimjee presented new evidence in court Tuesday with a series of text messages from Lich to co-defendant organizer Chris Barber, including a January 23 exchange in which he referenced a strategic decision to “lock down” the city. during the three years. convoy show of the week.

“They have a strategy to bring the city to a standstill,” Lich wrote. “I don’t want to make those decisions on my own.”

Lich was arrested in Medicine Hat, Alta., on June 27, and police escorted her to Ottawa on a Canada-wide warrant after she was charged with violating one of the conditions of her bail, which prevents her from having contact. directly or indirectly with their peers. convoy organizers.

The Crown previously sought to revoke Lich’s bail and return her to jail in May for another alleged rape when she accepted an invitation to a Toronto gala organized by the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms.

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The judge in that bail review found no breach and allowed Lich to attend the gala, which she did on June 16 as the guest of honor.

Karimjee played a video of that gala of Lich’s acceptance speech for the JCCF’s “Freedom Award” on Tuesday. The clip continues with Lich walking back to her place at the head table, where she is greeted by Maxime Bernier and then seen having a brief exchange of congratulations with Tom Marazzo, who is also sitting at the table.

Marazzo is among the list of people associated with the convoy leadership that Lich is prohibited from contacting, under the conditions of his release, unless in the presence of an attorney.

Karimjee also produced a photo of the event of a group including Lich and Marazzo, which was widely circulated on social media, as evidence of the alleged rape.

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Lich’s attorney, Lawrence Greenspon, argued that those actions were “so minuscule” that they were never intended to be covered by the conditions of release and “should not be prosecuted,” he said.

“Does this court really need to arrest Ms. Lich for what she did in Toronto?” Greenspon asked. “Doing that… arrest on that basis is not justified and will bring the administration of justice into disrepute. (These are) actions that were never intended to be excluded under the conditions of his release.”

The release conditions include a no-communication order that restricts Lich from contacting several key organizers of the convoy, but contains an exception for contact “through (legal) counsel or in the presence of counsel.”

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That clause was open to interpretation by both the Crown and the defence.

Greenspon questioned Det. Chris Benson, the lead investigator of the convoy cases for the Ottawa Police Service, suggested that Lich had attorneys present at the JCCF gala, who have acknowledged funding her legal defense and are representing her in related civil proceedings.

Karimjee argued that the exception was granted “only to discuss legal matters (with a lawyer); not for posing for photographs.”

The Crown further pointed to the newly discovered text messages and said that Lich had repeatedly shown a lack of respect for the justice system and the rule of law.

“These texts, and many other pieces of evidence, are piling up into a mountain of evidence…a truckload of evidence,” Karimjee said.

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Lich’s court-approved collateral, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, admitted it “absolutely” raised concerns when the photo of Lich and Marazzo surfaced.

Lich, according to the testimony, “assured” the surety that he had proper approval from his legal counsel and that the attorneys were out of frame when the photograph was taken.

The surety has already posted $20,000 bond, which could be forfeited, and said she would be willing to pay another $37,000 for Lich’s new charge. That bond, according to the guarantor’s testimony, would deplete a pension and life savings.

Greenspon downplayed the video clip as “a congratulatory interaction (with Marazzo) that lasted less than three seconds.”

Greenspon said Lich has already spent nine days in jail for the alleged rape, 12 days by the time the decision was handed down, after being arrested on an “unprecedented” arrest warrant across Canada.

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“This is the third attempt to put her back in jail,” Greenspon said. “The Crown is trying to convince the court that these are some of the most serious offences, and she has already spent nine days in jail for an exchange of congratulations. This is so minimal that, if there was any communication, it was in the presence of a lawyer, or of such transitory value and not contrary to the purpose of the non-communication order.”

Justice of the Peace Paul Harris said he compiled more than 40 pages of notes while presiding over Tuesday’s full-day hearing and told the court he would return Friday with a decision.

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