Video showed Evan Blackman singing “O Canada” on his knees prior to arrest
OTTAWA, ON: The Justice Centre is pleased to announce that all charges against Evan Blackman related to his February 18, 2022 participation in an Ottawa protest have been dismissed. Mr. Blackman had been charged with Criminal Code offences of mischief and obstructing police.
At the time of his arrest, police were conducting an “enforcement action” in downtown Ottawa, clearing the streets of protestors. Evidence against Mr. Blackman consisted of a 14-minute drone video (with no audio) and the testimony of one officer who was on the scene. For approximately nine minutes of the video, Mr. Blackman is recorded as part of a group of protestors standing face-to-face against a line of police officers on Rideau Street. In one part of the video, Mr. Blackman is seen deescalating the situation by holding other protestors back and by putting his hand up to stop protestors from confronting police. He is seen kneeling in front of police during the five minutes leading up to his arrest. At one point, while on his knees, he is seen taking off his hat, putting his hand on his chest, and singing “O Canada.” Mr. Blackman was arrested and released from custody the same day, February 18, 2022.
Once he was released, he realized that he could not access three of his bank accounts. They had been frozen pursuant to the Emergency Economic Measures Order.
Mr. Blackman pled not guilty to all charges and faced a trial on October 23, 2023. Because of the limited evidence and poor memory of the police officer regarding key details of the alleged criminal offences, the Judge dismissed all charges against Mr. Blackman.
“My client and I are thrilled with this outcome,” said lawyer Chris Fleury. “After almost 20 months, Mr. Blackman can finally put this matter behind him.”