An Ontario court has granted bail to Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich following a new bail hearing on July 26.
Ontario Superior Court Judge Andrew Goodman said July 26 that apart from the “disputed breach” of bail conditions at a June 16 awards ceremony in Toronto, Lich had “fully complied with her terms for a period of almost four months,” including a ban on the use of social media and a ban on holding further protests.
She has been ordered to return to her residence in Medicine Hat, Alta., and is not permitted to set foot in Ottawa again except for court appearances. Except through his lawyer, Lich is again prohibited from contacting the organizers and key figures of the Freedom Convoy, including Tom Marazzo, Christopher Barber, Daniel Bulford, Benjamin Dichter, among others. His release also required another bond of $37,000.
Lich is not barred from giving interviews or speaking to the media, as long as she does not violate the Freedom Convoy promotion’s bail conditions.
Lich, who was originally arrested in February and held for 19 days before being released on bail, has been held in jail for 30 days since her re-arrest on June 27.
She was brought to court in chains, which the judge ordered removed once she was released on bail.
Lich was re-arrested in Medicine Hat on June 27 on a Canada-wide warrant for allegedly violating her bail conditions to have no contact with other convoy organizers.
Crown prosecutors alleged Lich breached her bail conditions at a June 16 awards ceremony in Toronto, where she received the 2022 George Jonas Freedom Award from the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms. .
The Crown presented as evidence a photograph of Lich and another convoy organizer, Tom Marazzo, taken at the event, and a video briefly showing Lich seated at a table where Marazzo and others were seated.
Lich’s defense had argued that the “congratulatory interaction of less than three seconds” after Lich gave a speech at the awards dinner would not lead to any unlawful activity.
Following a series of bail hearings, Justice of the Peace Paul Harris said July 8 that he sided with the Crown in that Lich chose to sit at a table with Marrazo. and that it was “absolutely ridiculous” for her to believe that she could justify interacting with Marazzo by having her lawyers in the room. Lich’s bail conditions specified that there should be no communication with the convoy organizers except in the presence of a lawyer.
The court heard testimony that his attorneys, who were present at the June 16 event, approved of the photo taken of Lich and Marazzo.
Harris also said that Lich continues to pose a risk to public safetyas some Freedom Convoy demonstrations still take place in Ottawa from time to time.
Defense attorneys then requested a bail review, which began on July 25.
Goodman ruled during the bail hearing that preceded the bail hearing that the previous court made “erroneous” findings and “misinterpreted” the evidence against Lich when it decided she breached her bail conditions on July 8. The court then moved directly to a new round of bail hearings—de novo—in the afternoon.
Goodman said the belief that an individual will commit a criminal offense does not in itself provide justifiable grounds for detention, and that bail should only be denied to those who present a substantial risk of committing an offense or to interfere with the administration of justice.
He added that he was not aware of any other court case in Canada “in the past 25 years ‘where the Crown has recommended’a maximum phrasing of ten years for nonsense more $5,000, Where same a penitentiary phrasing for this question.”
Goodman said that there has been Nope evidence showing that Lich did anything with respect to the alleged violation”this would have put in danger the protection Where security of the Public” and would lead to a violation of his bail conditions.
Goodman also said he found it “over the top” when Harris had asserted in a previous hearing that “vulnerable victims of February’s freedom trucking convoy protests will no doubt continue to fear a repeat of the protests if individuals such as Ms. Lich and Mr. Marazzo are permitted to continue to communicate and socialize in any manner they deem legitimate.
He added that there was no evidence of such fear, either directly or circumstantially.
He further noted that it is not reasonable to believe that the interaction of the two convoy organizers lasting less than three seconds in public, as well as a group photo, would reasonably arouse such fear regarding a potential violation.
He also said Harris erred in law by arguing that it was on Lich to provide evidence at the bail hearing that an attorney was present at the June 16 event where she and Marazzo interacted.
Lich, who has remained in custody since her recent arrest on June 27, faces trial for her role as a key organizer of the truckers’ Freedom Convoy protest held for more than three weeks in downtown Ottawa to protest federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Lich was first arrested Feb. 17 on charges of mischief, counsel to commit mischief, obstructing police, among other charges, after the Liberal government invoked the Emergencies Act to quell protests.
After initially being denied bail, Lich was released in March on a number of conditions, including having no contact with the other convoy organizers.