Prairie Post (West Edition)

Crown stays charges against one Coutts protester


One of several individual­s arrested earlier this year in relation to the protest at the Coutts border in January and February has had his charges stayed by the Crown.

Charges of mischief to property and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose against Johnson Chichow Law were stayed July 25 in Lethbridge provincial court. A stay of proceeding­s allows the Crown to halt legal proceeding­s against an accused, although the proceeding­s can recommence within a year should evidence warrant it.

Earlier in the month identical charges against coaccused Luke Berk were also stayed by the Crown.

Co-accused Joanne Person, who represents herself on the same charges and previously elected to be tried by Court of Queen’s Bench judge and jury, was also in court July 25, and told the judge she had just received disclosure and needs time to review it. She asked the matter return in mid-October, but the judge refused to adjourn it that long, and instead scheduled Person’s next court hearing for Aug. 10.

Person also returns to court that day on a charge of dangerous driving, stemming from an incident Feb. 1 when a pickup truck drove through the blockade and headed toward oncoming traffic before becoming involved in a head-on collision. Person is represente­d by Calgary lawyer Kelsey Sitar in relation to that charge.

Another accused, Janx Zaremba, is set to stand trial Dec. 6, while co-accused Justin Martin, Evan Colenut, Ursulla Allred and Jaclyne Allred are expected to enter pleas when their matters return to court in September. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for yet another accused,”Easton Oler.

Four more accused, Christophe­r Lysak, Anthony Olienick, Jerry Morin and Chris Carbert, face an additional charge of conspiracy to commit murder and will stand trial on June 12 – 30, 2023. All four men have been denied bail in Court of Queen’s Bench and will remain in custody until their trial.

The charges against Carbert, Olienick and Morin were in provincial court Monday, as well, but stayed by the Crown. The stay of proceeding­s only apply to provincial court, however, where the matters were first filed. The charges were transferre­d to Court of Queen’s Bench where they will proceed by direct indictment, which bypasses the defence option for a preliminar­y hearing.

RCMP arrested the individual­s Feb. 14 during the blockade of trucks and vehicles at the Coutts border, after becoming aware of a cache of firearms and ammunition. The protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other pandemic restrictio­ns began late January and lasted until Feb. 15 when protestors began dispersing in response to the discovery of weapons.

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