The twenty-sixth day of the Chris Barber and Tamara Lich trial concluded with an outstanding disclosure dispute between the defence teams and Crown on Friday in Ottawa, ON.
Both Barber and Lich are charged with mischief, intimidation, obstruction of police and counselling others to commit mischief, intimidation, and obstruction of police. The charges relate to the two co-defendants' roles as organizers of the 2022 Freedom Convoy, a peaceful and civilly disobedient demonstration of governmental decrees, edicts, lockdowns, and mandates ostensibly imposed upon Canadians in interest of "public health" with respect to COVID-19.
Justice Heather Perkins-McVey, the judge presiding over the trial, began the day's proceeding by sharing her decision over a separate disclosure dispute. She determined that some redactions applied by the Crown to an email chain between Ottawa Police Service officers on the basis of solicitor-client privilege should be removed.
The emails in question – sent and received among some of the OPS's Police Liaison Team (PLT) – included information related to legal counsel provided to the OPS's PLT by the Crown's office. Despite the email chain not including lawyers as senders or receivers, the Crown argued that the emails' contents should still be shielded from public disclosure via solicitor-client privilege.
The judge agreed with the Crown's position that communications do not necessarily require the inclusion lawyers offering counsel to clients to be shield from disclosure by solicitor-client privilege, but chose to review the OPS PLT email chain to determine if any – or all – of the redactions should be removed to disclose contents to the defence teams.
Prior to the judge's decision to remove some of the redactions applied to the OPS PLT email chain, all that was known to the defence was that the document was a series of emails with the subject line "PLT Disclosure".
The trial's resumption date has not yet been determined. Proceedings are expected to resume somewhere in December after the Crown, defence teams, and judge arrange continuation dates in November.