June 24th, 2024

Adjournments in Coutts conspiracy to commit murder case


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on March 16, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

Thirteen individuals arrested on weapons charges during the blockade at the Coutts border last month, made appearances Tuesday in Lethbridge provincial court.
Lawyers appeared for each of the accused but simply adjourned their matters until March 28 to allow them time to receive disclosure from specialized prosecutions in Calgary.
The accused, Ursula Allred, 22, Johnson Chichow Law, 39, Justin Martin, 22, Eastin Stewart Oler, 22, Joanne Person, 62, Janx Zaremba, 18, Luke Berk, 62, Jaclyne Martin, 39, Evan Colenutt, 23, Chris Carbert, 44, Christopher Lysak, 48, Anthony Olienick, 39, and Jerry Morin, 40, are each charged with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and mischief. Carbert, Lysak, Olienick and Morin are also charged with conspiracy to murder, and they remain in custody pending bail hearings. The other nine accused were previously released on bail with several conditions, including prohibitions from attending protests, possessing weapons, and going further south than Milk River. 
Lysak was detained in custody following a bail hearing March 1 in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench, and even though Carbert, Olienick and Morin were scheduled to have bail hearings later the same week, their lawyers cancelled them following Lysak’s detention.
RCMP arrested the 13 individuals Feb. 14 during the protest at the Coutts border, after becoming aware of a cache of firearms and ammunition. A blockade of trucks and vehicles had been at the border crossing since Jan. 29, but protestors began dispersing Feb. 15 in response to the discovery of weapons.
“The development with weapons and the personal armour was not associated with us, and to keep that distance we decided to leave peacefully,” said Marco Van Huigenbos, one of the protest organizers.
Police said a small organized group within the protest was willing to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade. During the early-morning raid Feb. 14, police uncovered 13 long guns, as well as handguns, a machete, a large quantity of ammunition and body armour. Two additional weapons were seized later in the day.
According to a CBC report last month, two of the four southern Alberta men accused of conspiring to murder RCMP officers, Lysak and Carbert, have ties to a man who founded a neo-fascist, white supremacist group that aims to accomplish its goals through violence. Jeremy MacKenzie is the Nova Scotia founder of Diagolon, a group described by University of New Brunswick professor David Hofmann as an American-style militia movement. 
Two tactical vests seized displayed badges, which the Canadian Anti-Hate Network said have links to troubling movements. One vest had a “Diagolon” patch on it, a white diagonal line across a black rectangle, which the network has said is linked to an often conspiratorial and antisemitic group.
Police said the threat was “very serious” and the group was willing to use force if the blockade was disrupted.
Outside court Tuesday, about 20 people gathered in support of the accused who are still in custody and others who had been charged. Some were waving Canadian flags while others carried signs that read “Drop the charges,” “Scapegoat tactics are an abuse of the law” and “Truckers exposed Ottawa’s tyranny.”
– with files from The Canadian Press

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