Freedom Convoy leaders face new criminal charges

Accused now jointly face more mischief, intimidation and obstructing police charges

Priscilla Ki Sun HwangTrevor Pritchard · CBC News · Posted: Mar 24, 2022 3:43 PM ET | Last Updated: March 25

From left to right, Chris Barber, Tamara Lich and Pat King now face additional criminal charges related to the so-called Freedom Convoy protest that lasted several weeks. (Kirk Hill/Facebook, Adrian Wyld/CP and The Real Pat King/Facebook)

The Crown has laid more charges against three key leaders of the so-called Freedom Convoy.

Tamara Lich, Chris Barber and Pat King all appeared in court virtually Thursday, a little more than one month after the weeks-long occupation of Ottawa’s downtown core was brought to an end.

Lich was behind a now-halted GoFundMe campaign that raised more than $10 million to support the protests in Ottawa.

She was arrested Feb. 17, denied bail, but then released from jail on March 7 on the condition she leave Ottawa within 24 hours, refrain from using social media and have no contact with certain co-organizers.

Chris Barber, another key organizer, was arrested at the same time as Lich but released a day later under similar conditions.

Until now, Barber faced charges including counselling to commit mischief, counselling to disobey a court order, counselling to obstruct police, and mischief that interferes with the use and enjoyment of property. 

And Lich was charged only with counselling to commit mischief.

On Thursday, the Crown submitted a relaid information sheet from Ottawa police, laying out six charges each for Barber and Lich. 

According to the document, the two are now jointly accused of mischief, counselling mischief, obstructing police, counselling to obstruct police, counselling intimidation, and intimidation by blocking and obstructing one or more highways. 

At the Ontario Court of Justice on Thursday, Barber and Lich’s lawyer, Diane Magas, said she’d like to review the new charges with her clients. 

Lich and Barber are both next scheduled to appear in court in April.

Magas also said she’d like to have a bail review to modify the conditions of Lich’s social media ban. The Crown, however, said it would be up to the court to decide whether it has jurisdiction to further review the conditions.

King charged with intimidation, obstructing police

King, an Alberta resident and one of the most vocal leaders of the three-week occupation, had been facing four charges stemming from his Feb. 18 arrest, which he livestreamed to thousands of viewers.

Court heard Thursday he now faces new additional charges, bringing the total to 10:

  • Two counts of intimidation.
  • Two counts of obstructing police.
  • One count of disobeying a court order.
  • One count of counselling intimidation.

King had been previously charged with mischief, counselling to commit mischief, counselling to obstruct police and counselling to disobey a court order. Those charges remain.

He was patched into his hearing Thursday from the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre, where he’s been held since his bail was denied late last month.

While the Crown argued King was not entitled to another bail hearing, lawyer Cal Rosemond — who had not been retained by King but was in court on his behalf — argued he deserved one, given the “vastly different” nature of the new charges.

King is also now listed as a co-accused with Tyson George Billings, who was arrested on similar charges on the weekend police finally cleared out the occupation.

King’s next court appearance is slated for April 4.

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