Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich has again been granted bail.
Lich faces charges of mischief, obstructing police, counselling others to commit mischief, intimidation and more recently failing to comply with bail for her role in Ottawa’s massive winter protest-turned-occupation against COVID-19 restrictions and the Liberal government.
After she was accused of breaching her bail conditions, Lich was ordered to remain in custody to await trial for her role in the protest that paralyzed downtown Ottawa in February.
She had been ordered not to communicate with key convoy organizers except through counsel or in the presence of counsel, but was re-arrested after having contact with fellow protest leader Tom Marazzo at an awards gala in Toronto last month.
Marazzo is also a leader of a group called Veterans 4 Freedom, which staged several rallies in Ottawa over the Canada Day weekend.
In court Monday, her lawyer Lawrence Greenspon argued the two organizers did nothing more than shake hands and pose for a photo together at the gala.
She had spent 48 days in jail while she waits to answer to non-violent charges, Greenspon said. He added that she may end up spending more time in custody before her trial than she would ultimately have to serve if she is found guilty.
Crown counsel Moiz Karimjee disagreed, saying there’s the potential for Lich to serve a lengthy prison sentence for her role in the Ottawa protests.
On Tuesday morning, Justice Andrew Goodman set Lich’s detention aside, moving to a bail hearing de novo — essentially a fresh start as though the previous decision never happened.
Goodman challenged the Crown Monday about whether he has found a case of mischief that’s come close to the maximum sentence of 10 years.
“The answer to that is no, because there’s never been an occupation of a city, the capital of Canada, for three weeks,” Karimjee said. “If not in a situation such as this, then what other situation?”
On Tuesday, Goodman said he found it unlikely based on the charges that Lich will spend a long time in prison. He also noted her charges are non-violent.
Lich’s trial date has not been set. This week was the fifth time Lich was before the court to argue for her freedom from jail while she awaits a trial.
The new conditions of her bail include another $37,000 bond, and tightened rules around communication with the same list of convoy-linked people as last time.
“It must be crystal clear to you by now that authorities are monitoring your every action,” Goodman said to Lich.