'Lit a match': Prosecutor says pastor's fiery speech at Coutts blockade was mischief

Speech 'lit a match': Crown

A Crown prosecutor has told a trial that a Calgary pastor accused of encouraging truckers to keep blocking a Canada-U.S. border crossing a year ago meant to fan the flames with his visit.

Steven Johnston says in his closing arguments that Artur Pawlowski "lit a match" at the protest at Coutts, Alta., then left town.

Protesters blocked the border for nearly three weeks.

Pawlowski has pleaded not guilty to mischief and breaching a release order as well as a charge under the Alberta Critical Infrastructure Defence Act of wilfully damaging or destroying essential infrastructure.

The Crown's case consists of a 20-minute video of a speech Pawlowski gave to protesters urging them to hold their ground because the world was watching.

The defence has argued that Pawlowski was expressing his opinion and didn't incite the crowd to do anything.

Johnston says the pastor knew exactly what he was doing when he spent a day at the blockade.

The judge has indicated he plans to reserve his decision.

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