Adam Blake-Gallipeau, an associate lawyer with The Democracy Fund, told Rebel News on Friday in Ottawa, ON, that a series of witnesses invited by the prosecution to testify in the trial of Chris Barber and Tamara Lich mainly offered "feelings-based testimony" without specifics directly relating to the charges against the two codefendants.
Both Barber and Lich are charged with mischief, intimidation, obstructing police, and counselling others to commit mischief, intimidation, and obstruction of police. All the charges relate to Barber's and Lich's roles as organizers of the 2022 Freedom Convoy, a peaceful and civilly disobedient demonstration against decrees, edicts, and mandates marketed by the government as "public health" measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The fifth week of the trial concluded testimonies from a slate of Crown witnesses, all Ottawa residents claiming to have suffered harm as a function of the Freedom Convoy. Their testimonies included claims of sleeplessness due to honking and other noises, road blockages delaying their commutes to work and other errands, harassment and intimidation from Freedom Convoy protesters, and obstruction of their access to their own property.
Blake-Gallipeau, who observed the trial's fifth week's proceedings, stated, "From a bird's-eye view, what's important from these testimonies that we've seen is that nothing is specific that any of these witnesses have described that relates directly to any of the elements of the offences."
None of the Ottawa residents' testimonies includes facts "that can be connected to Chris Barber or Tamara Lich directly," he added. He continued, "It's a lot of sort of feelings-based testimony. … The question is, is this going to be something [with weight] that is in [Justice Heather Perkins-McVey's] mind? From my perspective, it doesn't look like there is going to be a lot of weight attributed to the civilian witnesses."
Blake-Gallipeau also remarked on an ongoing dispute over disclosure between the Crown and defense teams. Both Barber's and Lich's attorneys are requesting full disclosure of two sets of documents that they have received with redactions. The defense teams are seeking unredacted full disclosure of the documents.
Blake-Gallipeau explained that Justice Heather Perkins-McVey, the judge presiding over the trial, will determine the depth of disclosure provided to the defense counsels as the "trier of fact."
"We've had two documents now provided in disclosure," he stated. "The first document was five pages of blacked-out – completely – sheets, fully redacted. There's nothing that can be gleaned from these sheets."
Blake-Gallipeau went on, "The second [redacted] document … came as a result of a disclosure request that [Diane] Magas and [Lawrence] Greenspon – the defense team – put to the Crown [due to] what came out in the testimony of [Const. Nicole Bach], whereby her phone was wiped. Magas made a disclosure request, which was essentially, 'We want to know what the basis for the wiping of these phones was.'"
The Ottawa Police Service's (OPS) Police Liaison Team (PLT) is a group that coordinates local law enforcement operations with relevant stakeholders in special circumstances, including liaising with organizers of large protests such as the Freedom Convoy.
Diane Magas, Barber's defense attorney, sought disclosure pertaining to the erasure of work data from two PLT officers' work phones. Nicole Bach and Isabelle Cyr, both OPS officers working in the PLT, testified during the trial that their work phones had work data erased following some sort of system update.
The second document being sought by Magas and Greenspon, Blake-Gallipeau recalled, is partially redacted and contained PLT email chains.
He stated, "The second document … outlines a number of email threads between various parties within police departments and some crown attorneys. Now, these email chains, interestingly, were all – in their subject line – titled, 'PLT disclosure.'"
"The Crown has claimed [solicitor-client] privilege on a number of these redactions," Blake-Gallipeau added, noting that the prosecution has requested that some of the content in these documents hidden by redactions remain hidden from the defense teams due to the content being sensitive and privileged communications between the OPS and its legal department.