Tamara Lich will spend Canada Day weekend in jail
Tamara Lich, a prominent leader of the protests that have occupied downtown Ottawa this winter, is back behind bars in the nation’s capital as protesters from the so-called ‘freedom movement’ arrive in the city to mark Canada’s birthday.
Lich, 49, made a brief video appearance in an Ottawa courtroom on Thursday, after she was arrested in Alberta and transferred to the custody of Ottawa police for allegedly breaching her bail conditions under caution.
She was charged with breaching one of her bail orders, which barred her from contacting « in any way » with other organizers of the so-called Freedom Convoy” that paralyzed the streets around Parliament Hill this winter.
Lich was also taken into police custody over the Canada Day weekend, when “freedom” groups who decry COVID-19 health restrictions and claim the erosion of fundamental freedoms in Canada are planning a series events that prompted the local police to call in other law enforcement agencies. , prepare riot squads and create a « control zone » for vehicles in a large part of the city center.
She is due back in court on July 5 for what Crown attorney Moiz Karimjee said on Thursday should be a full-day bail hearing.
Karimjee also said he would seek to overturn an earlier order that allowed Lich to await trial on his various charges in Medicine Hat, Alta., instead of being behind bars.
The charges against her include: advising convoy participants to commit misdeeds; counsel to commit acts of intimidation; advice on obstructing the police; compel others to obstruct one or more highways; and malice.
Lich appeared via video in front of a concrete wall on Thursday. She wore a gray hoodie with capital letters printed in white that read, « Freedom Over Fear. »
After Justice of the Peace Mahamud Elmi told Lich she would remain in custody until next week, she walked off camera. Then a voice said from the video feed: « How unfair. »
Lich’s defense attorney, Eric Granger, said in a statement to the Star that Lich was « hungry to be able to regain his freedom » and that July 5 was the first opportunity to schedule a new bail hearing.
“It is unfortunate that this means that a woman who still has no criminal record remains presumed innocent of all charges, while the only new charge she has been arrested for is a single charge of violation of a single bail condition, will be on her ninth day in police custody since her arrest before she even had the opportunity to regain her freedom,” Granger said.
This is the second time Lich has been charged with breaching her bail conditions. In May, a Superior Court judge ruled that Lich had not violated the conditions of his release for accepting a reward for his role as a leader of the convoy protests.
Another condition of his release prohibited Lich from supporting anything related to the so-called « freedom convoy, » but Judge Kevin Phillips disagreed. He concluded that the intention of the bail conditions was to avoid a repeat of the disruptive protests in the capital, and that the acceptance of the reward was a « barely perceptible » show of support for the movement.
Lich was one of the main leaders of the convoy protests, having organized fundraisers and repeatedly urged participants to « stay the course » against calls from the police, politicians at the municipal, provincial and federal levels and from local residents to stop disrupting the capital.
She was first arrested in February, initially denied bail, then released on March 7 after spending 18 days in jail. At the time, his surety — whose identity was placed under a court-ordered publication ban — agreed to pay $20,000 if Lich breached the terms of his bail, while Lich herself- even promised $5,000.
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