Following a new bail hearing on July 26, a Superior Court judge granted Tamara Lich bail again and sent the accused “Freedom Convoy” leader home to Alberta. The judge overturned a lower court decision and said a previous decision to detain her was “clearly inappropriate.”
Lich was a key organizer of the truckers’ Freedom Convoy protest held for more than three weeks at Ottawa’s downtown core to protest the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates. After the Liberal government invoked the Emergencies Act to quell the protests, she was arrested on Feb. 17 on charges of mischief, counselling to commit mischief, obstructing police, among other charges.
Lich stayed in custody for 19 days before being released in March on granted bail. Her bail conditions include having no contact with fellow convoy organizers.
On June 16, Lich was present in Toronto to receive the 2022 George Jonas Freedom Award from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. Crown prosecutors alleged that during the award ceremony, Lich breached her bail conditions of having no contact with fellow convoy organizers. Lich was rearrested in Medicine Hat on June 27.
The Crown presented as evidence a photograph of Lich and a fellow convoy organizer Tom Marazzo taken at the event, and a video briefly showing Lich sitting at a table where Marazzo and others were seated.
Lich’s defence had argued that the “less than three-second congratulatory interaction” after Lich had delivered a speech at the awards dinner wouldn’t lead to any illegal activity.
Following a series of bail hearings, Justice of the Peace Paul Harris sided with the Crown and revoked Lich’s bail on July 8.
In the July 26 bail hearing at Ontario Superior Court, Judge Andrew Goodman said that apart from the “impugned breach” of bail terms at a June 16 award ceremony in Toronto, Lich has “fully complied with her conditions for a period of nearly four months,” including prohibition from using social media and prohibition from organizing further protests.
Goodman noted that it is not reasonable to believe that the two convoy organizers’ interaction lasting less than three seconds while in public, as well as a group photograph, would reasonably cause such fear regarding a potential breach.
Lich was brought to court in shackles after being kept in jail for 30 days since her re-arrest.
“Take those shackles off,” Goodman instructed the court security officer after telling Lich she would be freed on conditions.
Lich was ordered to return to her residence in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and is not allowed to set foot in Ottawa except for court appearances. Except through her legal counsel, Lich is again prohibited from contacting organizers and key figures of the Freedom Convoy, including Tom Marazzo, Christopher Barber, Daniel Bulford, Benjamin Dichter, among others. Her release also required another $37,000 bond.
Lich is not prevented from giving interviews or speaking to the media, as long as she doesn’t breach bail conditions of promoting the Freedom Convoy.
Goodman said he found it “highly unlikely” that Lich, with no criminal background and no allegations of violence, would face a potentially lengthy term of imprisonment.