The sentence related to Mr. Pawlowski’s 17-minute speech delivered on Feb. 3, 2022, in Coutts, Alta., during the Freedom Convoy protests. This speech occurred on the fifth day of the protests when a border blockade had already been established.
Crown prosecutors argued that Mr. Pawlowski’s address to truckers had persuaded them to extend their presence at the Canada-U.S. border crossing for an additional two weeks. The blockade in Coutts was part of a nationwide movement initiated in January 2022 to protest the government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for truck drivers and other pandemic restrictions.
His sentence was reported in a press release on Sept. 18 by TDF, citing Rebel News, which had live-posted the sentencing on social media. Prior to this conviction, Mr. Pawlowski had no criminal record.
TDF highlighted in its press release that no witnesses were called during the trial, and the judge relied on an agreed statement of facts, as well as a video and transcript of the speech.
Notably, Justice Krinke cited Mr. Pawlowski’s analogy in his speech that compared Convoy protestors to those involved in Poland’s solidarity movement in the 1980s, which was aimed at paralyzing the country’s communist regime through non-violent resistance.
“[Mr. Pawlowski] referred to the solidarity movement in Poland paralyzing the system as an effective means of achieving its goals. The implication to the protesters was clear: their blockade of the highway and of the border crossing would be an effective means of achieving their goals,” Justice Krinke stated in the trial decision.
Mr. Pawlowski, represented by lawyer Sarah Miller of JSS Barristers, has filed a notice to appeal the guilty verdict. His legal team will now decide on whether to appeal the sentence, according to the TDF.