Trial begins for Canada 'Freedom Convoy' organisers

2023-09-05 12:15:47  • 4 mins

By Nadine Yousif

BBC News, Toronto

The trial for the leaders of the so-called Freedom Convoy protest that gridlocked Canada's capital for weeks in 2022 is set to begin on Tuesday.

Tamara Lich and Chris Barber each face counts of mischief and obstructing police.

The two were part of a group that led a convoy of lorries to Ottawa to protest Covid-19 measures and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government.

Experts say the outcome of the trial could reverberate beyond the courts.

The main charge that Mr Lich and Mr Barber will have to defend is that of mischief, defined under Canadian law as the wilful destruction, damaging, obstruction, or interference of property.

Joao Velloso, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, said legally, the case overall is quite ordinary.

But he anticipates an abnormal level of attention given its tie to the Freedom Convoy protests and the political tensions around issues like vaccine mandates and freedom of assembly.

The outcome of the case will be viewed differently depending on where people stand on these issues and their overall trust in the justice system, he said.

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