Justice Heather Perkins-McVey rejected Tamara Lich's defence counsel's request to preclude several of the Crown's requested witnesses from testifying on Wednesday, the fourteenth day of Lich's and Chris Barber's trial in Ottawa, ON.
Both Barber and Lich are being charged with crimes associated with their organizational roles in the Freedom Convoy demonstration of 2022, including mischief, obstruction of police, intimidation, and counselling others to commit mischief, obstruction of police, and intimidation.
Barber's and Lich's attorneys filed a motion to prevent certain witnesses from testifying – Ottawa residents who will testify to harms they claim to have suffered due to the Freedom Convoy protest – on the basis of their testimonies being irrelevant and redundant following admissions submitted by the two defence counsels.
Both defence counsels submitted admissions of facts that certain Ottawa residents were harmed by others in the context of the Freedom Convoy, including being delayed in traffic for work, noise disruptions at night, and being impeded from full enjoyment of their property.
A lawyer attending the trial as an observer informed Rebel News that the judge's decision to allow the forthcoming witnesses to testify will remove a potential basis upon which the Crown could appeal her verdicts for the charges against both codefendants.
If Perkins-McVey were to exclude certain witnesses from testifying, the lawyer explained, the prosecution could appeal her decisions in the event of her rendering not-guilty verdicts.
Perkins-McVey stated that if she prevented the Crown from calling its desired witnesses would "[go] beyond the case management powers" she is vested with as a judge.
Such a prevention, she added, could potentially "make a ruling that would unfairly or irreparably cause damage to the Crown's discretion" and undermine the legitimacy of her decisions.
The judge maintained that she would ensure the "relevance, materiality and admissibility" of forthcoming witness testimony and evidence, and that she would "carefully exercise [her] duty [to ensure] that only relevant and probative evidence from these witnesses will be considered."
The prosecution claimed one of the purposes of its incoming slate of Ottawa resident witnesses is to preemptively "rebut any suggestion that this was a peaceful protest."
In its opening statement on the trial's first day, prosecutor Tim Radcliffe said the Freedom Convoy demonstration "was anything but peaceful."
Wednesday's proceeding included testimony from Constable Craig Barlow, an Ottawa Police Service (OPS) officer who testified during the trial's first week while presenting a video montage – primarily composed of bodycam footage recorded by law enforcement officers in Ottawa during the Freedom Convoy – of clips capturing selected moments from the protests.
Diana Magas, Barber's attorney, introduced several videos related to the Freedom Convoy as evidence during her cross-examination of Barlow, including a selfie video recorded by Barber and posted to his TikTok profile during the protest, footage of police officers using violence against demonstrators, and video captured by police officers' body cameras and surveillance drones.
In the selfie videos recorded by Barber and published to his social media profiles, he urged supporters to "be very compliant and work with the police" while advising participating motorist demonstrators to move vehicles when requested to do so by police officers.
There should be "nothing but peace the entire time," Barber said in his selfie video.
"We want to keep that going." He continued, "We're all about peaceful protests … no violence, no threats of violence."
"We don't need violence," he added. "We need peace."
He praised "the amount of smiles [and] the amount of hugs we've seen" while emphasizing, "We need emergency lanes open for vehicles at all times."
Magas also played a clip from an interview conducted by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson of Csaba Vizi, a trucker who was beaten by Ottawa police officers during the Freedom Convoy demonstration.
She also included video of the violent incident, noting that Barlow had not included this footage in his video montage produced for the prosecution.
Lawrence Greenspon, Lich's defence attorney, told Rebel News that Magas's video presentation illustrated that there "are two sides to every story."
Magas told Rebel News that her cross-examination of Barlow demonstrated key omissions of facts pertaining to the nature of the protest.