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Alberta

Two males facing various charges, following firearm-related incidents in restaurant drive-throughs 

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4 minute read

Police seek public’s help to ID two remaining suspects

October 21, 2021

Two men are facing various charges in connection to a pair of firearm-related incidents that occurred in two Edmonton restaurant drive-throughs on Oct. 9.

At approximately 3 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, EPS Southwest Branch patrol members responded to a weapons complaint at a restaurant near 103 Street and 80 Avenue.

It was reported to police that several males, who did not have access to a vehicle, were ordering food at the restaurant’s drive-through window. At that time, a 2018 Dodge Durango carrying four males pulled into the drive-through behind them. It is alleged, the 24-year-old driver of the Durango stepped out of the vehicle and approached the complainants, then pointed a firearm at the male complainants, before lowering the weapon and firing a shot at the ground.

The remaining three suspects subsequently exited the vehicle and approached the complainants. Two of the suspects then violently assaulted an 18-year-old male and a 22-year-old male with both complainants falling and striking their heads on the ground. The suspects continued to assault the males while they lay on the ground, before returning to their vehicle.

Paramedics treated and transported the two males to hospital with what appear to be serious, non-life-threatening injuries.

Approximately 25 minutes later, EPS Northwest Branch patrol members responded to a weapons complaint at a restaurant drive-through near 96 Street and 165 Avenue. In this incident, it was reported to police that a male driving an SUV approached the drive-through window demanding a large quantity of food. The male suspect then verbally abused the clerk, before allegedly reaching for and displaying a firearm inside the vehicle, while staring at the restaurant employee. The vehicle subsequently fled the scene.

With the help of surveillance video in the area, EPS investigators were able to confirm that the same 2018 Dodge Durango was involved in both incidents. At approximately 9:30 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, police located the suspect vehicle, and surrounded a residence near 178 Avenue and 103 Street NW.

A search warrant was executed at the home, where investigators recovered a firearm believed to be the weapon used by the suspect male in the two incidents. Police also seized various ammunition and 110 grams of cocaine.

Isiaha Chermak, 24, of Edmonton (the driver) and Darrious Ellis (one of the passengers), have each been charged with aggravated assault and various firearmrelated offences.

Investigators are releasing surveillance images of the two other suspect males, who still remain at large. Anyone with information about these two individuals and/or the driver and passenger of the silver Mazda 3 seen in the images, is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.p3tips.com/250.

EPS investigators are seeking the public’s assistance to identify the two remaining suspects (circled in above photos) involved in a firearm-related assault in a fast food drive-through south of Whyte Avenue at approximately 3 a.m., Oct. 9th. Police would also like to speak to the driver and passenger of the silver Mazda 3, which was also in the drive-through that evening (seen in above photos).

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Alberta

Judge decides ‘Freedom Convoy’ organizer Tamara Lich stays out on bail

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OTTAWA — Tamara Lich, a key organizer of the “Freedom Convoy” protest that gridlocked Ottawa for weeks, will remain released on bail while awaiting trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Kevin Phillips said he made his decision because she has followed her bail conditions, her surety has supervised her well and she’s already had a “taste of jail,” which he said lowered her risk to reoffend.

The judge said he does not accept that Lich breached her release conditions by agreeing to receive an award, and added Lich can be trusted to respect the conditions of her release.

She was released in March with a long list of conditions, including a ban from all social media and an order not to “support anything related to the Freedom Convoy.”

The terms of Lich’s release were intended to prevent a similar protest from happening in the national capital, the judge said, adding the court does not seek to control people’s political views.

“The courts are not a thought police. We seek only to control conduct to the extent that certain behaviour will violate or likely lead to violation of the law,” he said.

The protest is over and has left Ottawa, he said, adding it would be “practically impossible” to mount a similar protest in the city again.

Lich’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, said in an interview Wednesday that he was pleased with the decision.

“She’ll be able to conduct her life in a lot more normal fashion as a result of the judge’s ruling,” said Greenspon.

Moiz Karimjee, a Crown prosecutor, said last week that Lich violated one of her bail conditions by agreeing to accept an award for her leadership during the Ottawa protest, and should be sent back behind bars to wait for her trial.

Greenspon argued last week her bail conditions should be loosened to allow her to come to Ontario and use social media.

He told the court that the social media ban imposed on Lich was unnecessarily broad and has had a huge impact on her life while she’s been out of custody.

However, Phillips said Wednesday the ban on Lich’s access to social media is warranted.

“Social media can be a problematic feedback loop where people get egged on and caught up in group activity they would never perform on their own,” he said.

Social media “undoubtedly contributed to and even drove” Lich’s conduct related to the protest, and her separation from it is necessary to lower her risk of reoffending, said Phillips.

Noting that Lich is in her late 40s, Phillips said she should be able to remember “how to use the social skills she surely built up before the advent of the internet.”

Lich is able to communicate by many other means, including email, phone or meeting in person, he said.

Greenspon said while he would have liked to see the social media ban reversed, “the most important thing was the rejection of the Crown’s efforts to to put her back in jail for agreeing to accept an award.”

The judge did amend her release conditions to allow her to visit Ottawa.

Lich’s motivation for coming to the city cannot be disclosed because it is under a court-ordered publication ban.

Phillips reiterated the high unlikelihood that Lich could organize an event resembling the convoy protest.

While she’s permitted to come to Ottawa, Lich is not allowed to visit the downtown core so as not “to walk around the very neighbourhoods she is alleged to have traumatized,” he said, except to attend court or meet with legal counsel.

Lich and fellow protest organizer Chris Barber are jointly accused of mischief, obstructing police, counselling others to commit mischief and intimidation.

The “Freedom Convoy” protest evolved into a weeks-long demonstration that congested the streets of Ottawa in February.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2022.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Erika Ibrahim, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

OSC withdraws some charges against former CannTrust leaders at hearing

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VAUGHAN, Ont. — Three former CannTrust Holdings Inc. leaders accused of securities offences have had some charges dropped, the Ontario Securities Commission said Tuesday, though the fraud charges remain.

OSC spokesperson JP Vecsi says the withdrawn charges against Peter Aceto, Mark Litwin and Eric Paul were linked to making false or misleading statements to the OSC in CannTrust press releases.

OSC lawyer Dihim Emami said in a virtual courting hearing held in Ontario today that the charges were being withdrawn to reduce the length of the upcoming trial. 

Aceto, Paul and Litwin still face charges of fraud and of authorizing, permitting or acquiescing in the commission of an offence.

Litwin and Paul are also facing insider trading charges and Litwin and Aceto are charged with making a false prospectus and false preliminary prospectus.

The charges were first laid by the OSC in June 2021, roughly three years after CannTrust was found to be growing thousands of kilograms of cannabis in unlicensed rooms, while executives told shareholders the Vaughan, Ont. company was compliant with regulatory approvals.

In May, the company was renamed Phoena Holdings Inc.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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