Ottawa

Freedom Convoy leader Tamara Lich to remain in custody over Canada Day weekend

Freedom Convoy leader Tamara Lich will remain in custody over the Canada Day weekend after she was arrested this week for allegedly breaching her bail conditions.

Lich was arrested in Alberta on Monday for allegedly breaching her bail conditions

Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich talks to reporters Feb. 14, 2022 in Ottawa. Lich made a brief video appearance in an Ottawa courtroom Thursday after being arrested for allegedly breaching her bail conditions. (Frédéric Pepin/Radio-Canada)

Freedom Convoy leader Tamara Lich will remain in custody over the Canada Day weekend after she was arrested this week for allegedly breaching her bail conditions.

Lich was taken into custody in Medicine Hat, Alta., on Monday after Ottawa police issued a Canada-wide warrant for her arrest. She was brought back to the nation's capital and made a brief court appearance Thursday.

Crown prosecutor Moiz Karimjee requested a full day for a bail hearing, which is scheduled to take place on July 5.

Lich remains in custody as several groups — most of which formed out of the Freedom Convoy — are planning protests in Ottawa starting on July 1 and continuing throughout the summer.

She appeared on video from an Ottawa police cell, wearing a grey sweatshirt with the words "Freedom Over Fear" printed on it.

Eric Granger, Lich's defence lawyer, said July 5 was the earliest date available.

"The only new charge she's been arrested on is a single charge of breaching a single bail condition, [she] will be on her ninth day in custody since her arrest before she even gets the opportunity to regain her liberty," he wrote in an email to CBC.

Lich 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.

The anti-COVID-19-mandate protest shut down some areas of Ottawa for three weeks as participants parked trucks and other vehicles on city streets, blocking access to neighbourhoods and main arteries around Parliament Hill.

Court documents contact, communication with other organizers 

Lich was arrested on Feb. 17 and spent about 18 days at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre before she was released on bail in March on conditions which include staying off social media.

She was subjected to a bail review last month, but prosecutors were unsuccessful in trying to have her brought back into custody for allegedly violating her bail condition that she not support anything related to the Freedom Convoy.

Lich also cannot organize any kind of protest and is not allowed to contact or communicate with 10 other convoy leaders, except in the presence of counsel.

Court documents state Lich failed to comply with that condition on June 16. That's the same date she accepted an award during a ceremony in Toronto put on by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), a legal organization and registered charity based in Calgary.

The next day, Stacey Kauder, who describes Lich as a friend, posted a photo to her Facebook page showing Lich with her husband and four other attendees at the JCCF gala.

To Lich's left is a man identified as Tom Marazzo, a fellow convoy organizer, one of the people she was ordered to have no contact with unless her lawyer is present.

Tamara Lich, fourth from the left, was ordered by a judge to have no contact with fellow convoy organizer Tom Marazzo, second from the right. This photo shows the group in Toronto after Lich accepted her freedom award from the JCCF. (Facebook/Stacey Kauder )

Documents filed after her arrest mention photos of Lich and Marazzo "hands in arms" adding the pictures were "not for legal issues and no counsel [was] present."

They also reference a video of Marazzo giving a speech featuring a slideshow of the occupation in Ottawa before Lich reportedly took the stage and spoke to the crowd about "rights being rescinded."

The documents add that following her speech, Lich makes "physical contact" with Marazzo as she sits back down at the same table with him and she "appears to whisper" something in his ear, which is described as "communication."

Friends of the two convoy organizers had speculated on social media that Lich was allowed to have contact with Marazzo at the event because lawyers for the JCCF, who also represent Lich in her civil matters, were present.

In criminal filings for the case, Lawrence Greenspon, who has an Ottawa-based firm, is listed as Lich's counsel of record.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Taekema

Reporter

Dan Taekema is a reporter with CBC Ottawa. He has worked with CBC News in Hamilton, Windsor and Toronto and for newspapers around southern Ontario. You can reach him by emailing daniel.taekema@cbc.ca.

With files from Meghan Grant and Kristy Nease

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