Trio found guilty of mischief for roles in 2022 border blockade at Coutts, Alta.

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — Three men accused by the Crown of helping lead and coordinate the COVID-19 protest blockade at Coutts, Alta., in 2022 have been found guilty of mischief.

Jurors deliberated for three hours before finding Alex Van Herk, Marco Van Huigenbos, and Gerhard (George) Janzen guilty of one count each of mischief over $5,000.

Gasps of surprise were heard in a courtroom packed with supporters of the trio when the verdict was announced.

The three had been charged for their roles in a blockade that tied up cross-border traffic between Canada and the United States at Coutts for two weeks in early 2022 in protest of COVID-19 rules and restrictions.

At the trial in Court of King's Bench, the Crown presented witnesses, including Mounties, who testified the three were acting as the face and the leaders of the protest.

The defence did not call any evidence but argued there was no clear protest leader and that the blockade was a collection of demonstrators with different and sometimes competing viewpoints and actions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2024.

The Canadian Press