OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — A judge on Monday granted bail to one of the leading organizers of the three-week convoy protest against coronavirus measures in Ottawa.
Tamara Lich was initially denied bail Feb. 22 after Ontario Court Justice Julie Bourgeois deemed her detention was necessary to protect the public.
Lich’s lawyer launched a bail review, arguing that decision may have been tainted by the fact that Bourgeois ran as a candidate for the govenring Liberal party in the 2011 election and said that her own community had been affected by the protest.
On Monday, Superior Court Justice John M. Johnston found no merit to those arguments.
But he said he did find several other errors of law in Bourgeois’ decision and added that the risk of releasing Lich could be addressed by new measures proposed by the defense. Lich must abide by several conditions, including having no contact with fellow convoy organizers and obeying an order to leave Ottawa within 24 hours.
In addition to agreeing to those conditions, Lich had to post bail of 25,000 Canadian dollars ($20,000).
Lich was a key organizer of the protest that paralyzed the streets around Parliament Hill for more than three weeks. The trucker protest also grew until it closed a handful of Canada-U.S. border posts. They have since ended.
Lich was arrested last month and charged with counselling to commit mischief. She promised during a bail hearing Saturday to give up her advocacy of the protest and return to Alberta.
Ottawa protesters who vowed never to give up are gone, chased away by police in riot gear in what was the biggest police operation in Canada’s history.
The self-styled Freedom Convoy shook Canada’s reputation for civility, inspired convoys in France, New Zealand and the Netherlands and interrupted trade, causing economic damage on both sides of the border. Hundreds of trucks eventually occupied the streets around Parliament, a display that was part protest and part carnival.
For almost a week the busiest U.S.-Canada border crossing, the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, was blocked. The crossing sees more than 25% of the trade between the two countries.
A different Canadian judge denied bail to another prominent organizer last month. Pat King remains in jail.