November 23, 2022

Convoy protest organizer Lich released on bail and ordered to leave Ottawa as judge overturns previous ruling

Tamara Lich was released on bail with a list of strict conditions, including an order ordering her to leave Ottawa within 24 hours.

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Tamara Lich has been ordered to leave Ottawa within 24 hours and is to return home to Medicine Hat, Alta., under the watchful supervision of a surety after being released on Monday afternoon with a list of strict release conditions. out on bail.

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Lich, 49, sat with her hands clasped in her lap in the prisoner’s box as Superior Court Judge John Johnston read his decision to overturn the February 22 lower court ruling and grant Lich bail , one of the most visible and vocal accused leaders. of the so-called “freedom convoy”.

Johnston found that the previous judge who ordered Lich’s detention made “errors of law” that affected his decision.

Lich’s Ottawa-based lawyer, Diane Magas, challenged in court the earlier decision of Ontario Court Judge Julie Bourgeois, who denied Lich bail on the grounds that she presented a “substantial risk of recidivism”.

Magas made allegations of judicial ‘bias’ regarding the judge during last week’s bail review hearing, and Lich testified that she ‘wouldn’t have been comfortable’ with the judge presiding over her case if she had known that Bourgeois had previously run as a candidate for the Liberal Party in the 2011 federal election.

Magas had produced a video of Justin Trudeau praising Bourgeois as a candidate – although the clip predates Trudeau’s time as party leader and prime minister, and also predates the nomination de Bourgeois as a judge.

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Johnston said he found no basis for the allegation of bias involving the judge, calling it a “serious” and “misguided” allegation against a judge who is not authorized to comment publicly on the business.

Judges “cannot defend themselves” when their integrity is questioned, he said.

“Clitigators and attorneys should exercise caution in raising such serious allegations only in cases where there is evidence to support the allegation,” Johnston warned.

Bourgeois is a provincially appointed judge, and although he was not raised in court, Johnston was appointed to the Superior Court in 2010 under the federal Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Johnston said his fellow judge was correct in ruling that Lich’s first guarantor, her husband, was “unfit to manage or monitor” her terms of release.

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Magas and Lich returned to court last week with a revised bond plan that includes another proposed bond, a family member who has pledged $10,000 bond and said Lich will be under close watch.

The judge ruled that cash bail was not required, but ordered that the value of the bail be doubled to $20,000. Lich was also ordered to post his own bond of $5,000.

“I find Ms Lich needs a level of supervision if she is released,” Johnston said, but that risk can be “managed” by the new court-approved bond.

He said the new bail seemed “sincere” and that the judge believed the bail could handle Lich’s access to electronic devices under the revised bail plan.

Johnston ordered Lich’s release after concluding that Bourgeois ‘erred in law’ in his decision, particularly in his analysis of the ‘seriousness’ of the offenses and the likelihood of a lengthy prison sentence if of condemnation.

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Deputy Crown Attorney Moiz Karimjee has often said throughout the related proceedings that the Crown will seek consecutive maximum sentences for mischief convictions and mischief counseling.

“I find it unlikely that this defendant will face a lengthy jail term,” Johnston said Monday. “It is highly unlikely that this 49-year-old defendant (Lich), with no criminal record, who has a job, faces a prison sentence. This is unlikely to happen.

Bourgeois, Johnston held, “failed to engage” in a proper analysis and this contributed to the error of law.
He ordered the judge’s original ruling overturned, asked Lich if she agreed to abide by the terms, and wished her a quick “Good luck,” as she left the courtroom.

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According to the long list of conditions, Lich must be outside of Ontario within 72 hours and must alert Ottawa police with an update each day of his return trip. She can no longer enter the province without notifying the local police.

Once back in Alberta, she must reside in her home and cannot live anywhere else except with her court-approved surety. Lich will be banned from posting messages, images or even logging on social media, and cannot authorize anyone to post on his behalf, per Johnston’s decision.

She may not promote or indicate her endorsement of any “Freedom Convoy” activities or other future demonstrations regarding COVID-19 measures during the term of the court order.

He was also barred from contacting a list of alleged other convoy organizers, including Pat King, Chris Barber and Tyson Billings.

She was notably banned from contacting a list of alleged organizers who have not been charged with any offenses related to the protest, including Daniel Bulford, Benjamin Dichter, Owen Swiderski, Tom Marazzo and Karrie Komix.

Komix, one of the latest names to be added to the restraining order requested by the Crown, had previously testified at King’s bail hearing and offered to act as his surety. This bail plan was rejected by a justice of the peace and King remains in custody.

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