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Freedom Convoy judge allows some redacted internal police documents to be admitted as evidence

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Justice Heather Perkins-McVey stated that in her view there is no reason not to disclose the redactions

On Day 26 of the Freedom Convoy leaders Tamara Lich and Chris Barber’s trial last Friday, Judge Heather Perkins-McVey ruled that certain sections of redacted internal police documents, which the defense has been asking to see, will be allowed to be viewed and then admitted as evidence to the court.

Perkins-McVey noted that while some information is protected by solicitor-client privilege, other parts are based on police officer statements and opinions, and thus will not be allowed as evidence.

“Regarding a duplication in the emails, Perkins-McVey states in her view there is no reason not to disclose these redactions,” noted the Democracy Fund, which is crowdfunding Lich’s legal costs on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday.

Lich and Barber’s lawyers had been waiting for a decision from Perkins-McVey regarding being able to view some internal police documents in full that were given to them but in a redacted form.

Last Wednesday, Perkins-McVey said that she would issue a decision regarding the “solicitor-client email disclosure issue on Friday, and it “will revolve around whether ‘some’ or ‘all’ of the email chain will be unredacted.”

Crown prosecutors did not want the information to be unredacted and tried to argue this case to the court.

The documents in question include a police email chain along with essential information from Ottawa Police Services (OPS) officers who had their cell phone data wiped after a so-called software update. The information on the cell phones was regarding important communications between the officers and protest organizers.

The court recently learned that a second police witness, Nicole Bach of the OPS Police Liaison Team (PLT), testified her police-provided phone was “wiped” of all information when asked by the judge if she had copies of vital information of conversations between her and protesters.

On Day 24 of the Freedom Convoy leaders’ trial, Perkins-McVey ordered the Crown to provide a unredacted document to the defense lawyers concerning internal police emails regarding a police officer phone upgrade that “wiped” the data of some devices.

Lich and Barber’s defense had thus far only received completely blacked-out documents concerning the phone wipes of the OPS officers.

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.

The Crown is trying to prove that Lich and Barber had somehow influenced the protesters’ actions through their words.

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 federal government enacted the Emergencies Act on February 14, the same day as “moving day.”

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.

Trudeau revoked the EA on February 23.

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.

The trial is set to resume on November 8. However, dates beyond that have yet to be determined.

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Court decision allows Trudeau gov’t to avoid accountability on COVID travel app, top legal group says

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Four Canadians who refused to comply with the government’s border surveillance program had charges against them withdrawn, but no determination was made on the constitutionality of forcing the unvaccinated to quarantine.

A constitutional legal group says a recent court decision to withdraw charges leveled against four men who refused to go along with a COVID border surveillance program means the federal government “escaped accountability” for rules that targeted jab-free Canadians.

“This outcome is bittersweet for each of our clients,” said Chris Fleury, an attorney for the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), in a recent press release sent to LifeSiteNews.

“It is positive for each of them personally. On the other hand, they were deeply interested in seeking a determination of the constitutionality of the irrational and unscientific decision forcing unvaccinated Canadians to quarantine.”

Fleury noted that the court ruling means the federal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has “again escaped accountability for Covid policy decisions that breached Canadians’ Charter rights.”

The JCCF said the City of Mississauga withdrew “five charges against four Canadians who refused to comply with ArriveCAN requirements at the Toronto Pearson International Airport.”

The federal government’s $59.5 million scandal-ridden ArriveCAN travel app was introduced in April 2020 and mandated in November 2020. The app was used to track the COVID jab status of those entering the country and to enforce quarantines when deemed necessary.

When the app was mandated, all travelers entering Canada had to use it to submit their travel and contact information as well as any COVID vaccination details before crossing the border or boarding a flight.

In February, LifeSiteNews reported that Conservative Party MPs accused the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) of lying to Parliament over sweetheart contracting approvals concerning ArriveCAN.

Man revealed COVID jab status after breaking down under ‘pressure,’ then hit will $5,000 fine

“After arriving in Toronto from the Netherlands, Mr. Sly-Hooten felt that his personal medical information should remain private and chose not to disclose his vaccination status via ArriveCAN. In response, Peel Regional Police and Public Health Agency of Canada personnel detained him,” the JCCF said.

The JCCF added that “under pressure” and without any “counsel,” Sly-Hooten “broke down and revealed his vaccination status.”

“He received a $5,000 ticket for violating the Quarantine Act and was ordered to quarantine in his home for 14 days,” the JCCF explained.

The JCCF noted that it was able to help Sly-Hooten launch a constitutional challenge “against ArriveCAN, citing his right to liberty, his right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure, his right to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention, and his right to counsel after arrest and detention – all protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Other withdrawn tickets include those issued to Mark Spence, Aaron Grubb, and Evan Kraayenbrink.

The JCCF noted that, like Sly-Hooten, “each were charged for choosing not to provide information via ArriveCAN and were ordered to quarantine for 14 days.”

“Prosecutors have withdrawn the charges because they believe it is not in the public interest to expend further resources on a trial,” the JCCF said. “This outcome follows a similar pattern of ArriveCAN-related charges being dropped before their trials in what appears to be an attempt to shield the controversial program from constitutional scrutiny. In other words, charges are being dropped before the merits of constitutional challenges to ArriveCAN can be heard by the courts.”

Canadians were told ArriveCAN was supposed to have cost $80,000, but the number quickly ballooned to $54 million, with the latest number showing it cost $59.5 million.

The app itself was riddled with tech glitches along with privacy concerns from users.

Canadian Auditor General Karen Hogan announced an investigation of ArriveCAN in November 2022 after the House of Commons voted 173-149 for a full audit of the controversial app.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO) is investigating how various companies such as Dalian, Coaradix, and GC Strategies received millions in taxpayer dollars to develop the contentious quarantine-tracking program.

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Employee wins lawsuit filed by gov’t agency after losing job for refusing COVID shot

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From LifeSiteNews

By Emily Mangiaracina

The federal government successfully sued on her behalf, citing a Title VII violation.

A former assistant manager who was fired after applying for a religious accommodation to refuse the COVID shot has been awarded a six-figure payout after a federal government agency filed a lawsuit on the employee’s behalf.

Federal Judge M. Casey Rodgers on Thursday ordered the Pensacola, Florida store Hank’s Fine Furniture (HFI) to pay a former manager, identified in the lawsuit as “K.M.O.,” $110,000 for refusing to accommodate her request for exemption from the COVID shot due to her “sincerely held Christian beliefs.”

“HFI is permanently enjoined from discriminating against any employee on the basis of religion in violation of Title VII,” Rodgers wrote, the Pensacola News Journal reported Monday. He further declared that HFI “will reasonably accommodate employee and prospective employee religious beliefs during all hiring, discipline and promotion activities,” and “any activity affecting any other terms and conditions of employment.”

Significantly, the store also “cannot require proof that an employee’s or applicant’s religious objection to an employer requirement be an official tenet or endorsed teaching of said religious belief,” according to Pensacola News Journal.

Hank’s Furniture must also adopt a written policy, disseminated to all employees, declaring that HFI “will not require any employee to violate sincerely held religious beliefs, including those pertaining to vaccinations, as a condition of his/her employment.”

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued on behalf of K.M.O. (EEOC v. Hank’s Furniture, Inc., Case No. 3:23-cv-24533-MCR-HTC) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida after it was unable to reach a pre-litigation settlement “through its administrative conciliation process.”

According to Pensacola News Journal, about two weeks after HFI implemented a policy mandating that its employees receive a COVID shot, K.M.O. told the company she would not get the shot due to her “sincerely held religious beliefs,” and then requested a religious exemption.

According to the lawsuit, HFI ignored her request and asked if she would comply with their COVID shot policy, and K.M.O. then told HFI she planned to submit a written religious accommodation request, asking “whether HFI had a particular form she should use.”

HFI reportedly did not respond to her request. When K.M.O. complained that HFI’s unwillingness to grant her a religious exemption was “unjust,” her new supervisor reportedly told her that “HFI did not care why she would not take” the COVID shot and that HFI “would never grant an accommodation.”

When K.M.O. emailed HMI on September 6, 2021, asking for the status of her religious exemption request, HFI informed her that her religious exemption request was “severely lacking,” and then denied it.

K.M.O. then “asked for help to submit an acceptable religious exemption request,” but HFI refused to discuss any accommodation, according to the lawsuit. Then on October 31, she was fired by HFI because she did not comply with their COVID “vaccination” policy.

Birmingham District Director Bradley Anderson remarked regarding the case for an EEOC press release, “Employees should not have to renounce their religious beliefs in order to remain employed. Let this case serve as a reminder that employers should afford accommodation for religious beliefs unless doing so would cause an undue hardship.”

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