A video of David Lindsay's alleged assault against two security guards was played in Kelowna court Thursday, but several more days of trial are expected.
Lindsay is one of the main people behind Kelowna's so-called “Freedom Rallies," and he's facing two assault charges connected to an alleged incident at a protest on Aug. 19, 2021 outside the Doyle Avenue Interior Health building.
The trial began Wednesday, and while it was scheduled for just two days, just one witness completely wrapped up their testimony over the first two days of the trial. Crown prosecutor David Grabavac told Judge Cathaline Heinrichs at the end of the day Thursday that he expects his case to take another day and a half.
Judge Heinrichs said they should set aside a full three days of trial to prepare for the possibility of Lindsay calling witnesses in his defence. Lindsay does not have a lawyer, as he's representing himself.
A video of the incident, taken by one of Lindsay's supporters, was played in court Thursday for both Taj Smith, a manager with Paladin Security who was on scene during protest, and Jason Davis, branch manager for Paladin Security who was also on scene.
The video shows Lindsay arguing with Davis, Taj Smith and Interior Health's protection services manager Greg Smith, who were standing shoulder-to-shoulder, blocking Lindsay's access to the building.
At one point, Lindsay says “I disagree, I have a right of passage,” and then “I disagree, I'm coming in.” He then begins to walk forward with his hands down into Davis and Greg Smith. The Crown alleges this force against the two guards constitutes the offence of assault.
The video then shows two RCMP officers direct him away from the doorway.
Lindsay then begins arguing with the RCMP officers: “It's a Crown corporation, that means we have a right to go in ... If you want to charge me with trespassing, go ahead, but we have a right to go in ... I'm not breaking any laws.
“We want someone from Interior Health to come out and answer our questions, that's all we want .. there's no accountability to the public.”
So far, Const. David Fortier of the Kelowna RCMP has provided partial testimony at the trial, but technical issues with his video feed will force Lindsay to finish his cross-examination in person at a later date. Taj Smith completed his testimony Thursday, while Davis is part way through his testimony.
According to Davis, the incident on Aug. 19, 2021 wasn't the first time those at the Interior Health building had dealt with Lindsay and his group of protesters. He testified there had been a similar protest at the building about a week prior, and he'd been told Lindsay was banned from the building as a result of that protest.
Earlier Thursday, Taj Smith said Lindsay and several others had been “masquerading through the building and disrupting services” during a previous protest.
Davis said he, along with Taj Smith and Greg Smith, were at the building on Aug. 19 to “make sure that things didn't get out of hand.”
When Lindsay arrived outside the building, Davis approached him and spoke with him for several minutes, advising him he wasn't allowed to enter the building. Davis testified he wanted things to remain respectful and peaceful, and noted most of the protesters were “very peaceful.”
But he testified that Lindsay was "combative," and told him he would be entering the building one way or another, and that he would push past security if need be. While Lindsay argued the building was public property, and he wanted an Interior Health employee to answer his questions, Davis contended that it was a private building that's generally accessible to the public, but that it was no longer accessible to Lindsay.
Some time after the conversation, Davis says Lindsay approached the doorway to the building, where he, Taj Smith and Greg Smith were standing shoulder-to-shoulder. The ensuing argument, and alleged assault, is captured by the video which was shown in court.
David said after the incident, and after the two officers took Lindsay away and spoke with him, Lindsay told David as he was leaving that he would be returning the following Wednesday and that he hoped the three guards would be there.
It's not clear when the trial will resume, as further court dates will have to be scheduled. Crown prosecutor David Grabavac noted he may be replaced as prosecutor for the latter half of the trial, as he has several homicide trials later this year that will be taking up most of his time.