Protest leader tells judge: 'You can talk to the hand,' refuses to participate in trial

Lindsay: 'Talk to the hand'

UPDATE: 5:40 p.m.

“You can talk to the hand,” David Linsday told Judge Cathaline Heinrichs at the opening of his trial Wednesday afternoon, before declaring that he refused to participate.

The case got off to a rocky start before the trial even started Wednesday, with Lindsay – one of the people behind Kelowna's movement against the COVID vaccine and other pandemic measures – refusing to allow sheriffs to search his bags before he entered the courtroom.

Lindsay is facing two counts of assault stemming from an incident during a protest outside the Doyle Avenue Interior Health building on Aug. 19, 2021, when he allegedly tried to push his way past two security guards and into the building.

As has been the case with his previous court appearances, Lindsay was joined by about 40 supporters Wednesday, and he told them not to consent to the sheriffs' searches of their bags as well.

After Judge Heinrichs issued a warrant for Lindsay's arrest when he didn't enter the courtroom Wednesday morning, he spoke briefly with the judge and the warrant was vacated. The trial then began later Wednesday afternoon.

But Lindsay, who left his bags outside the courtroom, immediately raised his concern about the sheriffs searching his and his supporters bags. Judge Heinrichs responded that his concern wasn't relevant to the case against him.

She suggested Lindsay could take his laptop and other documents out of his bag and into the courtroom if he didn't want to consent to a search of his bag.

“Considering you won't let me in without being searched and all my materials are outside, you know what, you can talk to the hand, because I'm not participating in any court where I have to be searched without reasonable and probable grounds,” Lindsay said. “I'm not doing that, I'm not participating.”

The phrase "talk to the hand" isn't the most current of slang, dating back to the early 1990s, but according to Oxford Languages, it's "a contemptuous way of dismissing what someone has said."

Lindsay said he'd also be filing a constitutional challenge against the sheriffs' searches, and then refused to enter any pleas. In response, Judge Heinrichs entered not guilty pleas to the two assault charges on Lindsay's behalf and the trial carried on.

Crown prosecutor David Grabavac then began his opening statements, explaining the allegations of assault against Lindsay and outlining the witnesses who would be testifying for the Crown.

Lindsay then got into another back and forth with Judge Heinrichs about the search issue, with him saying at one point: “I'm not talking to you.”

He then changed his mind though and asked for a brief adjournment to grab his laptop and other documents from his bag and bring them into the courtroom. Judge Heinrichs granted him a two-minute adjournment.

After the brief break, Lindsay was paged over the courthouse speaker three separate times to return to the courtroom. Thinking he had left the courthouse entirely, Grabavac applied for another warrant for Lindsay's arrest, but Lindsay returned before the warrant was ordered.

It's not clear what was said outside the courtroom, but as Lindsay brought in his laptop and other documents, dozens of his supporters began filing into the courtroom.

Grabavac then called his first witness, Const. Daniel Fortier of the Kelowna RCMP. The officer is currently out of the country, so he testified by way of video – something Lindsay had previously objected to.

Const. Fortier, a member of the Police and Crisis Team, attended the Doyle Avenue Interior Health building at about 10:15 a.m. on Aug. 19, 2021 to pick up a nurse. The PACT program pairs an officer and a nurse to respond to mental health crises in the community.

Const. Fortier said a protest was going on outside the building when he arrived – “I can't remember if it was anti-mask or anti-vax at that point” – and Lindsay approached him in his police cruiser.

He said Lindsay's demeanour was “oppositional” and “fairly worked up," and Lindsay asked the officer what would happen if he pushed his way into the Interior Health building.

“I told him if he went into the building, tried to push his way in, I'd arrest him for trespassing,” Const. Fortier said. “Mr. Lindsay tried to have an argument with me saying that I could not arrest him for trespassing.”

The officer then called on his radio for back up, as he felt the protesters were “getting worked up.”

Const. Fortier's testimony will continue Thursday morning.

Despite Lindsay announcing earlier that he would not be participating in the trial, it appears – by clarifying with Judge Heinrichs that he'd be able to connect his computer to the court's system for cross examination – that he's changed his mind.

ORIGINAL: 10:45 a.m.

David Lindsay's assault trial hit a roadblock before it even got started Wednesday morning.

Lindsay, one of the faces behind Kelowna's movement against the COVID vaccine and other pandemic measures, is facing two criminal assault charges, stemming from an alleged incident outside the Doyle Avenue Interior Health building during a protest in August 2021.

The Crown alleges he tried to push his way past two security guards to enter the building. The force he allegedly used against the guards constitutes an assault, the Crown says. Lindsay has previously called the charges “politically motivated.”

Lindsay, who has a long history of using creative and largely unsuccessful arguments in court, is representing himself in the assault matter. He's been declared a "vexatious litigant" in B.C., meaning he cannot initiate a lawsuit without a judge’s permission.

But while his two-day trial was scheduled to begin Wednesday morning, Lindsay initially refused to enter the courtroom.

As has been the case with his previous court appearances, a group of about 40 of Lindsay's supporters were at the Kelowna courthouse Wednesday morning. But when the sheriffs attempted to search through their bags before they entered the courtroom, Lindsay told them not to consent to a search.

Lindsay then refused to enter the courtroom if his supporters were not present.

“There are those who believe in freedom and those who don't,” Lindsay repeated outside the courtroom.

At 9:37 a.m. at the request of Crown prosecutor David Grabavac, Judge Cathaline Heinrichs issued an unendorsed bench warrant for Lindsay's arrest, despite the fact that he was directly outside the courtroom.

After a few minutes, a sheriff informed Lindsay a warrant had been issued for his arrest, and Lindsay agreed to speak with Judge Heinrichs. But the sheriffs refused to allow anyone outside of lawyers and Lindsay into the courtroom during the brief discussion, so it's not clear what was discussed.

After a few minutes, Lindsay left the courtroom and a sheriff announced that Lindsay's warrant had been vacated.

The trial was then put over to noon.

But it doesn't appear that any of the Lindsay's concerns have been rectified. Speaking to his group of followers outside the courtroom, Lindsay reiterated that he would continue to refuse to attend the trial if his supporters were unable to enter without being searched.

He said the trial would likely run “ex parte” – or without Lindsay present – if he refuses to enter the courtroom. It's not clear if Lindsay will be arrested if he refuses to attend at noon.

“If I were to participate [in the trial], I would destroy them,” Lindsay noted to his followers.

Castanet will have further coverage of the trial later in the day Wednesday.

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