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Freedom Convoy leaders’ defense argues Crown has failed to meet legal threshold for conspiracy

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

In court on Monday, the defense teams of Freedom Convoy leaders Tamara Lich and Chris Barber again argued that the Crown has failed to establish that a criminal conspiracy existed between the two defendants

The trial of Freedom Convoy leaders Tamara Lich and Chris Barber resumed Monday with the defense arguing that a Crown request to make it so that criminal charges against one leader should apply to the other leaders as well should not be allowed to take place, as there is no evidence the pair worked in a conspiratorial manner.

The trial is currently seeing the defense counsel for Lich and Barber take their turn in calling forth witnesses before the court.  

On Monday, counsel for Lich, Eric Granger said to the court, “Ultimately, our submission is what’s required in order to invoke the co-conspirators exception, if there’s something more, a plan that’s more focused and specific than an overarching commonality of purpose.” 

Granger said that there needs to be a “very specific plan or common design that’s criminal in nature” in order to prove that Lich and Barber are somehow legally responsible for leading the Freedom Convoy in the commission of alleged crimes, a case he says the Crown does not have.  

“And that’s where we ultimately are to say that the evidence falls short of establishing circumstantial evidence and agreement between more than one individual to engage in one of the various criminal plans alleged by the Crown,” he said.  

As noted by  The Democracy Fund (TDF), which is crowdfunding Lich’s legal costs, in a Day 28 trial update, Granger contended that after “27 days of trial and testimony from 16 witnesses, the Crown had failed to provide enough evidence to satisfy the three required elements of the Carter test [to prove conspiracy].” 

“He particularly emphasized the absence of evidence pointing to a conspiracy between Lich and Barber, the lack of direct evidence against her, and the dearth of admissible acts or declarations,” added TDF.  

Lich and Barber are facing multiple charges from the 2022 protests, including mischief, counseling mischief, counseling intimidation and obstructing police for taking part in and organizing the anti-mandate Freedom Convoy. As reported by LifeSiteNews at the time, despite the non-violent nature of the protest and the charges, Lich was jailed for weeks before she was granted bail.   

Last week, on sitting day 27 of the trial, Lich and Barber’s legal counsel argued that the Crown to date has not been able to prove the organizers participated in a conspiracy to break the law or encourage others to break the law, and that therefore the case should be tossed altogether. The defense’s application came after the Crown abruptly decided to end its case last Monday, telling the court it would not call forth any new witnesses.

Defense argues Lich and Barber shouldn’t be responsible for each other’s statements 

On Monday, the defense teams for Lich and Barber told the court they intended to bring forth two applications, the first being a call to dismiss the Crown’s “Carter application.”  

The Crown’s so-called “Carter Application” asks that the judge consider “Barber’s statements and actions to establish the guilt of Lich, and vice versa,” TDF stated.  

TDF noted that this type of application is very “complicated” and requires that the Crown prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that there was a “conspiracy or plan in place and that Lich was a party to it based on direct evidence.”  

Granger argued that a specific and inherently unlawful “criminal plan was a prerequisite for establishing a conspiracy.”  

He said that the alleged plan to lift “COVID-19 restrictions lacked inherent unlawfulness, distinguishing it from cases involving crimes like murder or drug trade.” 

Granger then unpacked the “‘furtherance’ requirement, asserting that declarations were only admissible if made within the course of the conspiracy.”

Granger then scrutinized the “five conspiracies alleged by the Crown, highlighting their divergence from established legal precedents.” 

TDF noted that Granger underscored the absence of “evidence linking Lich to any inherently unlawful objectives, pointing to instances where police provided assistance during protests. Granger further challenged the Crown’s claims of aiding and abetting, emphasizing the lack of any witness interactions with Lich.”  

The full details of the defense’s second application brought before the court are not yet known, but the Crown, as noted by TDF, “expressed uncertainty about the nature of the second application and sought a court order compelling the defense to disclose details.” 

Justice Heather Perkins-McVey however intervened, “asserting that she would not order the defense to reveal their case on record.” 

In early 2022, the Freedom Convoy saw thousands of Canadians from coast to coast come to Ottawa to demand an end to COVID mandates in all forms. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government enacted the Emergencies Act on February 14. 

During the clear-out of protesters after the EA was put in place, one protester, an elderly lady, was trampled by a police horse, and one conservative female reporter was beaten by police and shot with a tear gas canister.  

Lich and Barber’s trial has thus far taken more time than originally planned due to the slow pace of the Crown calling its witnesses. LifeSiteNews has been covering the trial extensively.  

COVID-19

Nova Scotia drops COVID vaccine mandate for healthcare workers amid ongoing staffing crisis

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

The Nova Scotia Health Authority is allowing unvaccinated staff to return to work when the new policy takes effect on February 26 after more than two years of being on unpaid leave.

Nova Scotia has dropped its vaccine mandate for healthcare workers amid an ongoing staff crisis.

On February 21, the Nova Scotia Health Authority announced that it will no longer require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for healthcare workers and is encouraging staff members who were suspended because of the mandate to return to work.

“By removing the mandatory vaccination requirement, both organizations aim to offer flexibility and support to employees, onsite medical staff, and preferred candidates,” read a joint statement from Nova Scotia Health and IWK Health.

“Staff members who chose not to receive vaccines or submit proof of immunization, when the policy was implemented, may have the opportunity to return to active employment,” the statement promised.

Under the new policy set to take effect February 26, staff members “who chose not to receive vaccines or submit proof of immunization will be eligible to apply for onsite medical privileges with Nova Scotia Health and IWK Health, provided they meet all other necessary job requirements.”

Starting in November 2021, Nova Scotia mandated the experimental vaccine for healthcare workers. Those who refused the shot were placed on unpaid leave.

 According to a letter sent to The Canadian Independent, the province is telling unvaccinated healthcare workers to return to work when the new policy takes effect.

The email informed them that it is “imperative” to reach out to their manager to “confirm your intention to return to work or resign employment with Nova Scotia Health.”

“We understand this update may raise questions and concerns associated with a return to work,” the email stated. “We encourage you to reach out to your manager to discuss any supports and resources you may need to assist with your transition back to the workplace.”

The policy change comes amid record-high healthcare wait times of 27.7 weeks, the longest in the past 30 years and 198% longer than the 1993 average of 9.3 weeks.

The data surveyed 1,200 Canadian doctors across 12 specialties and 10 provinces. The report found that Nova Scotia had the longest wait time of 56.7 weeks, followed by Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick with 55.2 weeks and 52.6 weeks, respectively.

Vaccine mandates for healthcare workers remain in place across Canada despite the critical staff shortages in hospitals. While some provincial governments have lifted their mandates, many hospitals still require the experimental vaccine.

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COVID-19

Most Canadian nurses were hesitant to take COVID jab: gov’t data

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

Researchers found that over 50 percent of nurses in Canada and nearly a third of doctors were hesitant to take the experimental COVID vaccine, but did so anyway to keep their jobs amid workplace mandates.

A recently unveiled survey has found that a significant number of Canadian healthcare workers, including most nurses, were hesitant to take the experimental COVID shots, and only did so because it was mandated across the sector.   

According to a survey conducted by the Public Health Agency of Canada, results of which were obtained February 19 by Blacklock’s Reporter, 59 percent of healthcare workers were hesitant to take the experimental COVID vaccine, but many chose to put aside their concerns as the shot was mandatory to keep their jobs.  

“The prospect of losing their employment played a role in their decision to get vaccinated or not,” the report, titled National Cross-Sectional Survey Of Health Workers Perceptions Of Covid-19 Vaccine Effectiveness, found.  

“They expressed significant hesitation towards COVID-19 vaccines due to the speed of vaccine development and their perception of the potential for side effects,” it continued.  

The research found that 31 percent of doctors and 54 percent of nurses admitted “some level of hesitancy” to take the shot. The report found that “concerns about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines were among the largest factors contributing to vaccine hesitancy.” 

LifeSiteNews has published comprehensive research on the dangers of receiving the experimental vaccine, including heart damage and blood clots.    

A recent study done by researchers at the Canada-based Correlation Research in the Public Interest  found that 17 countries have a “definite causal link” between peaks in all-cause mortality and the fast rollouts of the COVID shots and boosters.  

However, despite their concerns, the report found that 89 percent of healthcare workers took the shot, mostly due to fears of losing their job.  

“Vaccine mandates were one of the most commonly reported reasons for getting vaccinated among respondents with a high proportion of nurses indicating it was the sole reason for vaccination,” the report said. 

Another revealed that vaccines were “developed in a matter of a couple of months and handed out like candy.”  

“I have a family and a mortgage it was like, what would I be able to do to make the same amount of money?” a third questioned.  

According to the report, 8 percent of workers refused the shot entirely, 87 percent of whom said they were concerned about the long-term effects of the vaccine, while 72 percent said they rejected that the vaccines were being mandated.  

64 percent of those who remained unvaccinated despite mandates said they lacked “confidence in Canada’s regulatory system,” 52 percent thought “the impact of COVID infection is greatly exaggerated,” 45 percent had religious reasons, and 20 percent were planning to become pregnant. Respondents were allowed to select more than one reason for opposing vaccination.

Notably, the survey found that “the proportion of self-reported infection did not vary significantly based on vaccination status,” meaning vaccinated healthcare staff were just as likely to transmit COVID as vaccinated ones.  

Currently, vaccine mandates for healthcare workers are still in place in many jurisdictions across Canada, despite a critical staff shortage in plenty of hospitals. While some provincial governments have lifted their mandates, many hospitals still require the experimental vaccine as a condition of employment.   

However, many healthcare workers have refused the vaccine and are appealing the mandates. In November, hundreds of British Columbia healthcare workers joined together to sue Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry for ongoing COVID shot mandates preventing them from working.      

Similarly, Ontario pro-freedom Dr. Mark Trozzi plans to appeal after he was stripped of his license for critiquing the mainstream narrative around the COVID-19 so-called “pandemic” and the associated vaccines.   

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