Defence counsel played videos of their client's calls for peaceful demonstrations on Wednesday, the seventh day of Barber's and Tamara Lich's trial in Ottawa, in which the two defendants are charged with crimes concerning their organizational roles with the 2022 Freedom Convoy protest.
"We need to make sure it's peaceful, no ifs, ands, or buts," Barber said in a selfie video he published to TikTok in February during the Freedom Convoy. The video was played for the court as part of Barber's defence counsel's cross-examination of Sgt. Joanne Pilotte, an Ottawa Police Service (OPS) officer invited as a witness for the prosecution.
Pilotte testified that she downloaded specific videos posted online featuring Barber and Lich as per her superiors' requests as part of the OPS's criminal investigation of the two organizers.
Barber also said Freedom Convoy supporters must "work with the public" and "work with law enforcement" to maintain a peaceful status.
He emphasized the need for trucker demonstrators to minimize impacts on residents, including the halting of horn honking in the evenings. "The public didn't ask for this," he added. "The government asked for it."
"The only way out for the government is a January 6-style insurrection," Barber stated, warning demonstrators against giving in to what he said were deliberate provocations by the protesters' detractors designed to induce violence in order to denigrate the protest as unruly. "We have the public on our side," he said.
He repeated, "it's peaceful, we don't want any trouble."
In its opening statement, the Crown described the Freedom Convoy as "anything but peaceful."
Barber and Lich are being charged with mischief, obstructing police, intimidation, and counselling others to commit the same.
The Crown played videos of press conferences featuring Freedom Convoy organizers, including Barber and Lich. Protest volunteers speaking at the conference emphasized the importance of "independent media" to challenge narratives pushed by "mainstream" and "legacy media.”
One speaker described the Freedom Convoy as "a moment for independent media to shine" in contrast to standard interpretations from outlets such as CBC, Global and CTV.
Lawrence Greenspon, Tamara Lich's lawyer, told Rebel News, "Mischief is a low-level criminal charge, but it is a criminal charge, and Tamara Lich has already spent 49 days in jail. There’s a lot of court time and resources being spent on this prosecution."
Pilotte's testimony indicated that the OPS began its criminal investigation of the Freedom Convoy — presumably targeting Barber and Lich — as early as February 12, 2022, approximately two weeks before the federal invocation of the Emergencies Act wherein police brutally shut down the protest.
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