Tamara Lich remains in jail as ruling on alleged bail breach expected on Friday

Tamara Lich will remain in jail until at least Friday, when a justice of the peace is due to share her decision on whether she breached her bail conditions by appearing alongside another Freedom Convoy leader at an awards gala in June.

Lich appeared virtually in Ottawa court on Tuesday for his fourth bail hearing since his first arrest in February.

Crown prosecutor Moiz Karimjee said a photo and video showing Lich at the Toronto gala, posing with Tom Marazzo and briefly addressing him, was a “flagrant” offense. He argued that Lich should be detained.

But defense attorney Lawrence Greenspon said Lich’s actions were “minimalist at worst” and did not amount to a violation, so she should be released on conditions.

Lich was taken into custody in Medicine Hat, Alta., on June 27 after Ottawa police issued a Canada-wide warrant for her arrest.

She faces charges of mischief, mischief council, obstructing police, council obstructing police, council intimidation and intimidation by blocking and obstructing one or more highways in connection with the protest that shut down parts of Ottawa for about three weeks last winter.

On Tuesday, Greenspon argued that the time Lich has spent in custody since his arrest “far outweighs the seriousness” of his conduct.

“She has spent nine days in jail so far for exchanging congratulations and posing in a photo with someone she was not supposed to be in contact with,” he said.

The exact wording of Lich’s bail conditions was discussed at length during the hearing. They dictate that she may not contact or communicate in any way, by any physical, electronic or other means, with a list of people associated with the convoy – including Marazzo – except through an attorney or by the presence of a lawyer.

Det. Chris Benson, lead investigator in the case, told the court on Tuesday that police had received “several complaints”. Lich allegedly breached his bail conditions at the ceremony in Toronto on June 16.

Court saw a video where Lich could be seen talking with Marazzo for about three seconds.

“Surely you’re not going to suggest … the contact referred to is physical contact,” Greenspon told Benson, arguing about the terms of the communication.

“They are present, together, and it is physical contact,” replied the detective. “If they’re in the same room socializing, that includes that.”

Tamara Lich, fourth from left, was ordered by a judge to have no contact with fellow convoy organizer Tom Marazzo, second from right. This photo shows the band in Toronto after Lich accepted their JCCF Freedom Award. (Facebook/Stacey Kauder)

Greenspon said police could not hear what she said to Marazzo in the video. He also asked the detective if he could identify any lawyers from the Justice Center for Constitutional Liberties (JCCF), which organized the event.

Benson said he couldn’t, adding that he was not aware of any of Lich’s attorneys in the video or photo taken that same evening.

“She’s sitting at a table with Mr. Marazzo at a social event, a gala. It’s not a lawyer’s office, it’s not a boardroom,” Benson said, explaining the basis of the arrest warrant against her.

“She was then photographed later that night with Mr. Marazzo, arm in arm.”

“Strategy to bottle up the city”

A text message from Lich to Chris Barber, another convoy organizer, which was obtained through a police search of his cellphone, was also read during the hearing.

“Great. The command center just called. Can you come with me soon,” read the message sent on January 30. “They have a strategy to block the city. I don’t want to make these decisions myself.”

Greenspon, Lich’s lawyer, argued that it’s unclear who “they” are referring to in this post, adding that he doesn’t say it was Lich’s strategy.

Karimjee came to a different conclusion and described the text as the “CN Tower” of his case and said it shows Lich “is a decision maker in the command center”.

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