OTTAWA — An Ottawa judge has decided that "Freedom Convoy" organizer Tamara Lich will remain released on bail while awaiting trial.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Kevin Phillips said his decision was based on how well Lich's surety has supervised her, that she has followed her bail conditions, along with "having had a taste of jail," which lowered risk of reoffence.
The judge said he does not accept that Lich breached her release conditions by agreeing to receive an award, and added Lich can be trusted to respect the conditions of her release.
She was released with a long list of conditions, including a ban from all social media and an order not to “support anything related to the Freedom Convoy.”
The terms of Lich's release were intended to prevent a similar protest from happening in the national capital, the judge said, adding the court does not seek to control people's political views.
"The courts are not a thought police. We seek only to control conduct to the extent that certain behaviour will violate or likely lead to violation of the law," he said.
The protest is over and has left Ottawa, he said, adding it would be "practically impossible" to mount a similar protest in the city again.
Moiz Karimjee, a Crown prosecutor, said last week that Lich violated one of her bail conditions by agreeing to accept an award for her leadership during the Ottawa protest, and should be sent back behind bars to wait for her trial.
Lich and fellow protest organizer Chris Barber are jointly accused of mischief, obstructing police, counselling others to commit mischief and intimidation.
Lich's lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, said last week her bail conditions should be loosened to allow her to come to Ontario and use social media.
The "Freedom Convoy" protest evolved into a weeks-long demonstration that gridlocked the streets of Ottawa.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Erika Ibrahim, The Canadian Press