Freedom Convoy leader Tamara Lich to remain in custody over Canada Day weekend

Freedom Convoy leader Tamara Lich will remain in custody over the Canada Day weekend after she was arrested this week for allegedly breaching her bail conditions.

Lich was taken into custody in Medicine Hat, Alta., on Monday after Ottawa police issued a Canada-wide warrant for her arrest. She was brought back to the nation’s capital and made a brief court appearance Thursday.

Crown prosecutor Moiz Karimjee requested a full day for a bail hearing, which is scheduled to take place on July 5.

Lich remains in custody as several groups — most of which formed out of the Freedom Convoy — are planning protests in Ottawa starting on July 1 and continuing throughout the summer.

She appeared on video from an Ottawa police cell, wearing a grey sweatshirt with the words “Freedom Over Fear” printed on it.

Eric Granger, Lich’s defence lawyer, said July 5 was the earliest date available.

“The only new charge she’s been arrested on is a single charge of breaching a single bail condition, [she] will be on her ninth day in custody since her arrest before she even gets the opportunity to regain her liberty,” he wrote in an email to CBC.

Lich faces charges of mischief, counselling mischief, obstructing police, counselling to obstruct police, counselling intimidation, and intimidation by blocking and obstructing one or more highways in relation to the protest.

The anti-COVID-19-mandate protest shut down some areas of Ottawa for three weeks as participants parked trucks and other vehicles on city streets, blocking access to neighbourhoods and main arteries around Parliament Hill.

Released in March

Lich was arrested on Feb. 17 and spent about 18 days at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre before she was released on bail in March on conditions which include staying off social media.

She was subjected to a bail review last month, but prosecutors were unsuccessful in trying to have her brought back into custody for allegedly violating her bail condition that she not support anything related to the Freedom Convoy.

Lich also cannot organize any kind of protest and is not allowed to contact several of the other convoy leaders, including Tom Marazzo, unless in the presence of counsel.

While it’s not yet clear which bail conditions she is accused of breaching, there was speculation online that Lich might be in legal trouble over a Facebook photo that shows her beside Marazzo at an awards ceremony in Toronto on June 16 put on by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), a legal organization and registered charity based in Calgary.

Tamara Lich, fourth from the left, was ordered by a judge to have no contact with fellow convoy organizer Tom Marazzo, second from the right. This photo shows the group in Toronto after Lich accepted her freedom award from the JCCF. (Facebook/Stacey Kauder )

Friends of the two convoy organizers speculated on social media that Lich was allowed to have contact with Marazzo at the event because lawyers for the JCCF, who also represent Lich in her civil matters, were present.

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