Rebel News spoke with Adam Blake-Gallipeau, a lawyer with The Democracy Fund (TDF) at the conclusion of the third week of Chris Barber's and Tamara Lich's trial in Ottawa, ON.
Barber and Lich are both being charged with crimes related to their roles as organizers of the 2022 Freedom Convoy, a weeks-long peaceful protest against government-imposed decrees, edicts, and mandates ostensibly issued as "public health" measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission.
Specifically, the two codefendants and being charged with mischief, obstruction of police, intimidation, and counselling others to commit mischief, obstruction of police, and intimidation. TDF is a charity describing itself as committed to "constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty."
Blake-Gallipeau noted ongoing disputes regarding disclosure in the trial. He recalled the judge's request that the Crown fulfill its disclosure duties by August 1, a little over one month before proceedings began on September 5.
"There have been significant disclosure issues," Blake-Gallipeau stated. We have had issues, starting with [Kim] Ayotte, with respect to his bringing notes to court. He didn't bring notes to court. He was provided some time to bring his notes to court. I think it was day three that he brought some of his notes that he was then – at that point – permitted to rely upon."
He added, "I think the tale of the tape here is that the defence doesn't have notes or wasn't aware of these notes."
Kim Ayotte was invited as a witness for the prosecution given his role as Ottawa's city manager of emergency services, including firefighters, paramedics, police, and by-law officers. He also held this position during the Freedom Convoy.
Justice Heather Perkins-McVey, the judge presiding over the trial, warned of admissibility problems with Ayotte's testimony given the nature of information he testified to regarding the Freedom Convoy. Given his managerial bureaucratic role, most of his information about the demonstration was provided second-hand from subordinates. Second-hand information and hearsay, Perkins-McVey claimed, holds little-to-no weight.
Etienne Martel, a provincial police officer from Quebec invited by the prosecution as a witness, had similar problems with the admissibility and reliability of his testimony. Martel's testimony revolved around his role as a "crowd control" operator during the Freedom Convoy. He was part of a unit deployed from Quebec of approximately 40 police officers. His logbook of events during his work in Ottawa during the forceful put-down of the protest was composed of notes from all of his unit colleagues.
Perkins-McVey warned that the unclear distinctions between notes in the logbook attributed to him and those from other Quebec police officers eroded the reliability of his testimony as being first-hand. The judge further warned that Martel's entire perception of events during his time in Ottawa could be unreliable given Martel's statement that he had reviewed his logbook in its entirety prior to testifying without segregating content composed of other Quebec officers' experiences.
Blake-Gallipeau also noted the current pace of the trial's progression, with four witnesses having completed their testimonies in 13 days. With the Crown's list of desired witnesses nearing thirty persons, it will take approximately 90 days of proceedings for the prosecution to complete its arguments if the current speed continues.