Bail denied for Ottawa protest leader Tamara Lich, decision expected for Pat King on Friday

An Ottawa judge has denied bail to convoy organizer Tamara Lich. She will now remain behind bars until her trial.

An Ontario court judge has denied bail for one of the two leading figures of the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests in Ottawa.

Ontario Court Justice Julie Bourgeois, who issued the decision in an Ottawa courtroom Tuesday morning, believes there is a substantial risk Tamara Lich will either engage in illegal activity around the protests or counsel others to do so.

Lich is charged with counselling to commit mischief. She appeared in court via a video link.

In her decision, the judge said she believes Lich would re-offend if she is released and that her continued detention is necessary for public safety. She also has suspicions around the source of Lich’s finances and the money to put up a bond for her bail.

The judge also said Lich had many opportunities to leave the illegal protest, but chose not to and counselled others not to as well.

The 49-year-old has been ordered not to communicate with other organizers while she is in custody. Lich is due back in court on March 2.

A separate bail hearing continues for fellow protest leader Pat King who was arrested last week. Both King and Lich spent the weekend in jail.

At the bail hearing for 44-year-old King, the Crown asked the judge to deny him bail, saying he would be a substantial risk to re-offend. The Crown presented evidence of social media videos posted by King where he allegedly makes racist comments and how this would all end in bullets.

While he has a surety who is willing to keep track of him during bail, during cross-examination it was revealed she has only known him for four weeks and also took part in the protests.

Pat King

Pat King appearing on a Facebook Live stream. Photo courtesy: The Real Pat King/Facebook.

King interrupted the court twice, which is when he was told by his lawyer to remain quiet. The judge also ordered him to put his mask on and leave it on after he had taken it off.

Just ahead of a lunch break, a lawyer behind a class-action lawsuit against the convoy organizers officially served King with a legal notice.

A decision on King’s bail will be delivered on Friday.

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On Saturday, Lich appeared before the court and told a judge she promised to leave Ottawa and return home to her family in Alberta. She is charged with counselling to commit mischief.

King, also from Alberta, is facing charges of mischief, counselling to commit mischief, counselling to commit the offence of disobeying a court order and counselling to obstruct police. King live-streamed his own arrest on Facebook Friday.

Lich, one of the convoy organizers, is one of the individuals that created the GoFundMe page that led to millions of dollars in donations to the convoy.

Earlier this month, GoFundMe removed the donations page and said they would begin offering full refunds to those that contributed to the over $10 million raised. The website said the reasoning for pausing and returning the funds was because the money raised was supporting “violence and other unlawful activity.”

Lich claimed the money raised would be allocated to help with fuel costs, food and lodgings for protesters.

Another prominent convoy organizer, Chris Barber, was granted bail last week on conditions he leave Ontario by Wednesday and not publicly endorse the convoy. Barber is facing charges of counselling to disobey a court order and obstructing police.

Police arrested 196 people in Ottawa over the weekend as they cleared the demonstration that occupied downtown streets for nearly four weeks. Officers charged 110 individuals, 89 were released upon the condition they stay out of the red zone and 115 vehicles were towed.

Two of the people that were charged had been arrested on Friday, but were released and returned to the protest site where they were re-arrested and charged.

Officials in the city say residents can expect to see a large police presence for the foreseeable future. Ottawa police are reassuring businesses that closed their doors during the three-week occupation of the downtown core that they should now feel safe to reopen.

The secured area has also been reduced to no longer include Byward Market. Those who have a “lawful” reason to be in the secured area will be let through.

Interim Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell said on the weekend he would not commit to a timeline on when the protective fencing would be removed or when police measures would cease.

The House of Commons voted to approve the use of the Emergencies Act on Monday night.

The motion passed with support from the Liberal and NDP while Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois MPs voted against it. It will now move up to the Senate.

The emergency measures, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked last Monday, give law enforcement temporary additional powers. Trudeau says his government has no intentions of keeping the act in place a day longer than they deem necessary.

At any point, the Senate, House or government could pull support and the extraordinary powers stemming from the emergencies law would be torn up.

With files The Canadian Press

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