Tamara Lich appeals bail conditions that violate her Charter freedoms

OTTAWA: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms today announced that one of the participants of the Ottawa truckers freedom convoy, Tamara Lich, will appeal the bail conditions imposed on her by the Ontario Superior Court.

On March 7, 2022, Justice John M. Johnston released Tamara Lich from jail, in accordance with her Charter right to be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. While the bail conditions align with Ms. Lich’s Charter right to be presumed innocent, they also violated Tamara Lich’s Charter freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly through the following bail conditions:

“You are not to log on to social media or post any messages on social media. … You are not to allow anyone else to post messages on Social Media on your behalf or indicate your approval for any future protests so long as this release order is in place. …You are not to engage in organization or promotion of anti-COVID 19 mandate activities and Freedom Convoy activities …  You are not to verbally, or in writing, financially, or by any other means, support anything related to the Freedom Convoy. …”

The violation of a bail condition can result in a fine, imprisonment, or both.

An appeal of the bail conditions has been filed and makes the following arguments:

“A ban on all forms of expression on social media or to even log in to social media and on all forms of organization or promotion of anti-covid19 mandates is incompatible with the principle of restraint, and also incompatible with perfectly legitimate forms of expression on social media or otherwise, such as expressing a political view about the lockdown measures, communicating with family and friends or viewing posts from other individuals.

As the “Freedom Convoy” is no longer in Ottawa, there is no longer any need for a condition banning any support of the “Freedom Convoy”.

The conditions imposed do not have a rational connection to the risk to public safety or the commission of further offences.

His Honour failed to ensure that the conditions imposed were clearly articulated, minimal in number, necessary, reasonable, least onerous in the circumstances, and sufficiently linked to the accused’s risks regarding the statutory grounds for detention in s. 515(10).”

Ms. Lich, a mother and grandmother from Medicine Hat, Alberta, who works in oil-and-gas administration, was arrested in Ottawa on February 17, charged with violating Criminal Code Section 464 for having counselled “mischief” (defined as the obstruction, interruption and interference with the use and enjoyment of property). The following day, while Ms. Lich was already in jail, police also charged her with willfully obstructing, interrupting, or interfering with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property contrary to section 430(1)(c) of the Criminal Code. Additional charges were laid today.

“The bail conditions are excessive and unnecessary violations of the Charter rights and freedoms of Tamara Lich,” states lawyer and Justice Centre president John Carpay.

“We have a double standard, contrary to the rule of law. The Emergencies Act was not even considered, let alone used, when protesters shut down railway lines in BC, Ontario and Quebec in February and March of 2020,” notes Mr. Carpay.

“As one of the organizers of the Freedom Convoy, Tamara Lich was arrested on spurious charges and jailed for 18 days. Nobody can be faulted for viewing her as a political prisoner, jailed not in respect of any real crime but for having the “wrong” political views,” concludes Mr. Carpay.