Freedom convoy leader Tamara Lich’s bail has been revoked for violating the conditions of her release when she attended an awards gala in Toronto and had contact with another convoy organizer.
Justice of the peace Paul Harris announced his decision in an Ontario Court of Justice courtroom in Ottawa on Friday afternoon, with Lich present in person.
Her detention is necessary “to maintain confidence in the administration of justice,” Harris said.
He added it was “absolutely ridiculous” for her defence to argue that the presence of lawyers at the award gala somehow circumvented the bail condition.
In the gallery, someone started crying while another rushed out of the courtroom.
Lich’s next appearance is scheduled for July 14 via video.
Lich has been in jail since she was taken into custody in Medicine Hat, Alta., on June 27, after Ottawa police issued a Canada-wide warrant for her arrest.
She faces charges of mischief, counselling mischief, obstructing police, counselling to obstruct police, counselling intimidation, and intimidation by blocking and obstructing one or more highways in relation to the protest that shut down parts of Ottawa for roughly three weeks this past winter.
Supporters holding Canadian flags chanted “Free Tamara,” outside the courthouse after the decision.
Supporters calling “free Tamara” outside the courthouse. <a href=”https://t.co/2QYgr2NayI”>pic.twitter.com/2QYgr2NayI</a>
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, defence lawyer Lawrence Greenspon said he was “extremely disappointed” in the decision, and that the defence will seek a bail review in the Superior Court of Ontario “as quickly as possible.”
He said Lich was “understandably disappointed with the result, and wanting to regain her freedom as soon as possible.”
Defence lawyer Lawrence Greenspon made a brief appearance outside. Here’s the whole thing.<br><br>Says he’s “extremely disappointed,” has received instructions to bring a bail review ASAP.<br><br>Says Lich is “understandably disappointed.” <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ottnews?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ottnews</a> <a href=”https://t.co/jpc5fiY8K4″>pic.twitter.com/jpc5fiY8K4</a>
4th bail hearing held earlier this week
Lich appeared virtually in an Ottawa courtroom Tuesday for her fourth bail hearing since she was first arrested in February.
Crown prosecutor Moiz Karimjee said photo and video showing Lich at a Toronto award gala, posing with, and briefly speaking to, fellow convoy organizer Tom Marazzo amounted to a “flagrant” breach of her conditions.
He argued Lich should be detained, adding the judge who released her on bail gave her a “gift … she kicks in the mouth.”
But Greenspon said Lich’s actions were “minimalist at worst” and didn’t amount to a violation, so she should be released again with conditions.
He argued the fact that “all they’ve got” is a photo and video is proof the conditions are working, saying the court needs to answer a simple question — should Lich be detained for what she did in Toronto?
Bail condition wording dissected
One of Lich’s bail conditions states she cannot contact or communicate in any way, by physical, electronic or any other means, with a list of people associated with the convoy — including Marazzo — except through counsel or in the presence of counsel.
That wording was dissected during the hearing earlier this week, with Greenspon saying it refers to communication, rather than physical contact.
He also asked Det. Chris Benson, lead investigator in the case, whether he could identify lawyers with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), which put on the award ceremony June 16.
Benson said he could not, adding he was not aware of any of Lich’s lawyers being in the video or photo taken that same night.
But the detective told the court he believes Lich’s actions constituted a breach.
“She’s sitting at a table with Mr. Marazzo at a social event, a gala. This is not a lawyer’s office, this is not a boardroom,” said Benson. “She’s then photographed later that night with Mr. Marazzo, arm in arm.”