Charges against a protester at the 2022 Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, who had his bank accounts frozen, have been dropped by an Ottawa judge.
Evan Blackman pleaded not guilty to charges of obstructing police and mischief.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) was representing Mr. Blackman in the case.
“Because of the limited evidence and poor memory of the police officer regarding key details of the alleged criminal offences, the judge dismissed all charges against Mr. Blackman,” a JCCF news release said.
“My client and I are thrilled with this outcome,” said lawyer Chris Fleury. “After almost 20 months, Mr. Blackman can finally put this matter behind him.”
The evidence against Mr. Blackman was a 14-minute drone video with no audio, and the testimony of a police officer at the scene, JCCF said.
Mr. Blackman was seen in the video standing with other protesters face-to-face against police officers lined up on Rideau Street. He was also seen putting his hand up to stop protesters from confronting police, the release said.
“He is seen kneeling in front of police during the five minutes leading up to his arrest. At one point, while on his knees, he is seen taking off his hat, putting his hand on his chest, and singing ‘O Canada,’” JCCF said.
Protester Organizers On Trial
Freedom Convoy organizers Tamara Lich and Chris Barber are on trial in an Ontario court.
They are facing charges of counselling to disobey a court order, counselling to obstruct police, and mischief that interferes with the use and enjoyment of property in connection to the protests that saw hundreds of vehicles gather in Ottawa in early 2022 to protest pandemic mandates.
Ms. Lich was also charged with violating her bail terms, but that charge was stayed by Crown prosecutors on Oct. 23. They said they made the decision as the trial has been going on nearly twice as long as expected.
The trial is set to resume on Oct. 31.