Convoy organizer Tamara Lich to remain in jail at least 5 more days

Ottawa

One of the main organizers of the so-called Freedom Convoy continued to fight for her release during a bail review Wednesday, but the decision was adjourned to next week.

Tamara Lich was a key organizer for the protest convoy and helped organize the original GoFundMe page that supported the protest.(Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

One of the main organizers of the so-called Freedom Convoy continued to fight for her release during a bail review on Wednesday, but she will have to remain in jail until at least next week.

Tamara Lich, 49, was behind a now-halted GoFundMe campaign that raised more than $10 million to support the protest in Ottawa, which became a weeks-long occupation.

She was arrested Feb. 17 and charged with counselling to commit mischief shortly before the major push by police to clear out the remaining protesters who occupied downtown Ottawa streets.

Lich was then denied bail on Feb. 22, but appealed, leading to Wednesday's bail review. The original judge said she was not convinced Lich would go home and stop her alleged counselling.

On Wednesday, a new judge said he would come back with a decision on Monday afternoon.

Relative pledges to look over Lich's phone

The bail review hearing Wednesday focused in part on a relative who said they were prepared to act as a surety for Lich, meaning they would supervise her upon release to ensure she did not break her bail conditions.

The proposed surety, whose identity is protected under a publication ban, said they had posted $7,500 in bail money for Lich (with another $2,500 posted by other relatives) and lived only a 20-minute drive away from Lich.

"If I have to go over there every day to look at her phone history … I will do that," the surety told court.

Superior Court Justice John Johnston asked if the proposed surety would be prepared to call police if they found Lich breaching her conditions.

"I don't feel I have a choice. That's what I'm signing up for," they said.

Crown lawyer Moiz Karimjee questioned the proposed surety about a Facebook post, made two days after Lich's arrest, in which they wrote they were "so proud" of Lich.

"I can be proud of her. I don't have to support everything she does," they said.

Earlier Wednesday, Lich told her lawyer Diane Magas she had a ride planned to take her quickly out of Ottawa should she be released.

Defence alleges appearance of bias

Magas said the bail review application was made partly because she felt the provincial court judge in the original bail hearing, Justice Julie Bourgeois, made errors when denying Lich bail.

Magas said her use of the term "our" when referring to Ottawa in her decision risked the appearance of bias against Lich.

Karimjee called that suggestion "frivolous" and "vexatious," pointing out Bourgeois agreed to the release of another convoy organizer, Chris Barber, the day before Lich's own bail was denied.

Magas also suggested Bourgeois did not give enough weight to Lich's assertion she would not break her bail conditions.

"Does she need to say more? No. She testified under oath," Magas said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Story tips? Email me at guy.quenneville@cbc.ca or DM me @gqinott on Twitter.

With files from Andrew Foote and Kristy Nease

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