Timber wood Friday had been originally scheduled to be the final day of the trial of Chris Barber and Tamara LIch, but it is now expected to continue for several more weeks.

Author of the article:

Laura Osman  •  The Canadian Press

Published Oct 13, 2023  •  Last updated Oct 14, 2023  •  3 minute read

Participants in the convoy protest on a blocked section of Wellington Street in downtown Ottawa on Feb. 10, 2022. Photo by Jean Levac /POSTMEDIAAn Ottawa courtroom heard Friday that the city was seized during the 2022 convoy protest, as protesters blocked streets and caused public transit to be rerouted away from downtown.

The fourth week of the criminal trial for organizers Tamara Lich and Chris Barber has been dedicated to hearing from Ottawa residents who lived or worked downtown during the protest.

THIS CONTENT IS RESERVED FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY

Subscribe now to read the latest news in your city and across Canada.

Exclusive articles from Elizabeth Payne, David Pugliese, Andrew Duffy, Bruce Deachman and others. Plus, food reviews and event listings in the weekly newsletter, Ottawa, Out of Office.Unlimited online access to Ottawa Citizen and 15 news sites with one account.Ottawa Citizen ePaper, an electronic replica of the print edition to view on any device, share and comment on.Daily puzzles, including the New York Times Crossword.Support local journalism.SUBSCRIBE TO UNLOCK MORE ARTICLES

Subscribe now to read the latest news in your city and across Canada.

Exclusive articles from Elizabeth Payne, David Pugliese, Andrew Duffy, Bruce Deachman and others. Plus, food reviews and event listings in the weekly newsletter, Ottawa, Out of Office.Unlimited online access to Ottawa Citizen and 15 news sites with one account.Ottawa Citizen ePaper, an electronic replica of the print edition to view on any device, share and comment on.Daily puzzles, including the New York Times Crossword.Support local journalism.REGISTER TO UNLOCK MORE ARTICLES

Create an account or sign in to continue with your reading experience.

Access articles from across Canada with one account.Share your thoughts and join the conversation in the comments.Enjoy additional articles per month.Get email updates from your favourite authors.Article content

Article content

On Friday, the court heard from the person responsible for rerouting public transit routes and the owner of an upscale boutique in the ByWard Market.

“I saw our streets, I saw our city seized and completely overtaken by these so-called protesters,” Chantal Biro told the court.

She said there were far fewer customers at her store and a dramatic drop in sales when thousands of protesters arrived in Ottawa to protest COVID-19 public health restrictions.

The streets near Biro’s shop were blocked by big rigs and pickup trucks that blared their horns.

She recalled the smell of exhaust fumes from constantly running vehicles and marijuana and cigarette smoke seeping into the shop.

She said she wasn’t able to get shipments delivered to the store, but was able to drive to her usual parking garage and walk to the store seven days each week. She avoided being outside because of unpleasant run-ins with some of the demonstrators, who mocked her for wearing a mask and swore at her when she asked them to move away from the doorway of her business.

None of the local witnesses the court heard from this week had any contact with Lich or Barber, who are both accused of mischief and counselling others to commit mischief, among other charges.

Article content

The blocked streets also impacted public transit routes through the core, OC Transpo’s Natalie Huneault testified Friday.

Huneault is responsible for planning detours to accommodate events and demonstrations that disrupt bus service in Ottawa. She told the court she redirected 18 routes that would usually run through the downtown core.

That meant about 150 downtown bus stops were not in use during the demonstration because streets were blocked and closed.

Instead, OC Transpo arranged for an extraordinary shuttle bus to pick up residents.

Before the convoy arrived, she said the event that caused the longest transit disruption was Italian Fest, which lasted three days.

The convoy disruptions lasted more than three weeks.

Barber’s lawyer, Marwa Younes, reminded the court that other things had led to longer delays, including construction and road closures.

Friday had been originally scheduled to be the final day of the criminal trial, but it is now expected to continue for several more weeks.

There are still several names on the Crown’s list of witnesses, including Zexi Li, the lead plaintiff in a proposed class-action lawsuit against the protest organizers on behalf of people living and working in downtown Ottawa.

Article content

Biro told the court that she had taken steps to join that class action on behalf of her business.

The court also expects to hear from police officers who were responsible for liaising with protesters.

Before court adjourned Friday, the lawyers discussed some of the challenges involved in scheduling more time for the trial and the disclosure of evidence to the defence before more police officers would take the stand.

Barber’s other lawyer, Diane Magas, raised the issue of timing. The Supreme Court’s Jordan decision stipulates that any person charged with a crime has the right to be tried within a reasonable time frame, which the court has ruled to be 18 months.

“Jordan is very much an issue in this case, at this time,” Magas said.

The trial is expected to resume Monday.

Related Stories

Police arrest suspect in Raven Avenue shooting death

Police arrest suspect in Raven Avenue shooting death

Our website is your destination for up-to-the-minute news, so make sure to bookmark our homepage and sign up for our newsletters so we can keep you informed.

Article content

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!