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Convoy organizer told people to leave protest, defence tells trial

Told protesters to leave

UPDATE: 9:24 a.m.

A lawyer for Freedom Convoy organizer Chris Barber says he encouraged protesters to leave downtown Ottawa and set up camp outside the city, following police advice.

Barber and Tamara Lich were two of the most prominent leaders of the early 2022 protests against COVID-19 public health restrictions.

Both have pleaded not guilty to mischief and intimidation, among other charges.

The Crown intends to prove that the two conspired together so closely that evidence against one should also apply to the other.

But Barber's lawyer Diane Magas is arguing against that assertion, and says the organizers were not working toward an illegal purpose.

She read some of Barber's private text messages aloud in court today, in which he encouraged protesters to move their vehicles out of the city to a staging area about 45 kilometres outside of Ottawa.


ORIGINAL: 6:08 a.m.

The lawyers in the criminal trial of two Freedom Convoy organizers are expected to continue their debate today over whether Tamara Lich and Chris Barber were co-conspirators in the protest.

Both are charged with mischief and intimidation, among other charges, for their role in the early 2022 protests against COVID-19 public-health restrictions.

The Crown intends to prove that the two conspired together so closely that evidence against one should also apply to the other.

The defence has already spent two days arguing to the contrary.

Defence lawyers say the actions of the protest organizers weren't inherently illegal, and there is no evidence linking them to anyone else's illegal actions.

The defence is expected to finish making its case on the conspiracy allegation before the Crown presents its own argument.



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