The tenth day of Tamara's Lich's and Chris Barber's trial on Tuesday in Ottawa, ON, was mostly dedicated to questioning and cross-examination of Kim Ayotte, Ottawa's general manager of emergency and protective services.
Both Lich and Barber are charged with crimes related to their organizational roles with the 2022 Freedom Convoy. They are both charged with mischief, obstructing police, intimidation, and counselling others to commit mischief, obstructing police, and intimidation.
The day's proceedings started with Lawrence Greenspon, Tamara Lich's attorney, challenging the relevance of eight Ottawa residents the Crown wishes to have testify as witnesses.
He said the tentative witnesses cannot provide details regarding their claims that they were harmed as a result of the Freedom Convoy. Specifically, Greenspon emphasized, they cannot identify when the alleged harm took place, where the alleged harm occurred, or who allegedly harmed them.
If witnesses cannot identify the specific dates, times, locations, and perpetrators of alleged traffic blockages linked to the demonstration, Greenspon added as an example, then their testimony is inadmissible at trial.
"If that's not there, they've got nothing," Greenspon stated. Justice Heather Perkins-McVey, the judge presiding over the trial, agreed with Greenspon's assessment that specific details from witnesses are required in relation to their allegations and claims.
Greenspon also explained that a conviction on the charge of counselling others to commit mischief requires the prosecution to prove the mischief allegedly counselled was not committed.
"It's a condition precedent" Greenspon stated, "that the mischief be proven to have not been committed" in order for a conviction to be secured on a charge of counselling others to commit mischief.
Counselling others to commit intimidation, he Greenspon continued, requires specific targets of the allegedly counselled intimidation. The Crown argued that both Barber and Lich counselled others to intimidate "any member of government, or their agents, or employees."
The judge questioned the relevance of Ayotte's testimony. Ayotte, a Ottawa city official who oversees emergency services – including fire, police, and paramedic services – and by-law operations, testified as a witness for the prosecution.
Ayotte's managerial role – in which he oversaw Ottawa's emergency services during the Freedom Convoy protest – challenged his ability to provide testimony based on first-hand experiences and observations, the judge stated, given that his position revolved around broad aggregations of information collected by others.
"We're really interested in things that you have direct knowledge of," the judge maintained after the defence warned of Ayotte's testimony being primarily predicated on second-hand and hearsay information,
"There is no doubt that the substance of [Ayotte's] testimony will be the subject of a dissemination," Greenspon remarked.
He also noted Ayotte's arrival to court without notes, which he warned may impede the ability to provide accurate testimony when cross-examined for specific details.
The day's proceedings ended with tentative scheduling for the trial's continuation into October ad November.