Charges Dropped Against Freedom Convoy’s ‘Peace Man’

by EditorL

Protester Dana-Lee Melfi says the truckers and their supporters in central Ottawa are peaceful. (Richard Moore/The Epoch Times)

Charges against a Freedom Convoy protestor known as “Peace Man” have been dropped.

Dana-Lee Melfi, who earned the nickname “Peace Man” for regularly offering a peace sign to those passing by during the protest in Ottawa, was arrested on Feb. 19, 2022, as part of a police crackdown on protestors after the government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act five days prior.

He was charged with mischief, mischief to property, disobeying a lawful order, and obstructing justice, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) said in a news release.

JCCF, who hired a lawyer to represent Mr. Melfi, said it was notified the charges were dropped on Jan. 23, a day after the trial was scheduled to begin.

The news came just days after Mr. Melfi’s lawyer, Monick Grenier, sought to have social media videos disclosed by the Crown as evidence excluded from the proceedings, the JCCF said. She also planned to apply the Jordan Decision, which states that a trial must get underway within 18 months of charges being laid.

Not long after, the parties were advised that the Court was double booked and the charges were dropped.

“My client stood in peace throughout the protest,” said Ms. Grenier. “After his arrest, Mr. Melfi was set to advance breaches of his rights under sections 8, 9 and 10 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We are pleased with this outcome.”

The JCCF said Mr. Melfi, sporting sunglasses and flowing, grey hair and beard, attended the protests with two cameras on his head and a large Canadian flag in hand. His goal was to encourage dialogue between the government and protestors.

Mr. Melfi spoke to The Epoch Times at the scene of the protest, just eight days before his arrest.

“I can’t stand to see what our country is becoming. I was standing on the Parliament Hill for the first couple of days with a simple message of peace. We are here in peace, but there was a couple of bad actors and jokers in front of these trucks,” he told The Epoch Times.

“So the truck drivers have asked me to stand here and hold the line. I stand here 10 hours a day and show our simple message that we are here in peace.”

Mr. Melfi, who identified himself as a government employee, said he wanted all the vaccine mandates rescinded.

“No one can force me to do anything to my body that I do not wish,” he said. “It’s very unCanadian.”

Federal Ruling

A federal court judge declared on Jan. 23, 2024, that the use of the Act was “unreasonable” and infringed on Canadians’ charter rights.

“I have concluded that the decision to issue the Proclamation does not bear the hallmarks of reasonableness—justification, transparency and intelligibility—and was not justified in relation to the relevant factual and legal constraints that were required to be taken into consideration,” wrote Justice Richard Mosley in the decision.

The ruling prompted some of the protestors to say they would sue the government and the banks that worked with Ottawa to freeze the accounts of some protestors.

Military veteran Eddie Cornell, police veteran Vincent Gircys, and Alberta contractor Jeremiah Jost said in a joint statement on Jan. 29 that they will sue “those in government, the financial institutions who froze people’s bank accounts, and the police officers who beat up and injured innocent Canadians.”
The Liberal government has previously said it will appeal the court decision.

“We respect very much Canada’s independent judiciary,” said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Jan. 23. “However, we do not agree with this decision.”

Richard Moore, Matthew Horwood, and Noé Chartier contributed to this report. 

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