July 25th, 2024

Unvaccinated jury requested by woman facing Coutts charges


By Delon Shurtz on May 17, 2022.

By Delon Shurtz
LETHBRIDGE HERALD
dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com <mailto:dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com>
One of several individuals charged in relation to alleged offences during the Coutts border protest wants to be tried by a Court of Queen’s Bench judge, with a jury whose members are not required to be vaccinated.
Joanne Person, who was in Lethbridge provincial court Monday, said because of her own opposition to vaccinations, she fears a jury whose members are all vaccinated may be prejudiced against her.
Judge Sylvia Oishi accepted Person’s election for judge and jury, but pointed out her query relating to the jury will have to be made in front of a Queen’s Bench justice. The matter was adjourned to May 27 back in provincial court, however, to determine whether Person is eligible for a preliminary hearing.
Person, along with eight others, is charged with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and mischief.
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 protesters began dispersing in response to the discovery of weapons.
Person, who is self-represented, also faces an unrelated 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.
The other accused, Easton Oler, Ursula Allred, Luke Berk, Johnson Law, Justin Marten, Janx Zaremba, Evan Colenut and Jaclyne Martin, also had their matters addressed in court Monday. All but Zaremba had their matters adjourned to May 27, while an agent for Zaremba’s lawyer pleaded not guilty on behalf of the accused and elected to be tried by a provincial court judge. Zaremba’s matter was referred to the Case Management Office to set a one-day trial, for which, court was told, the defence doesn’t plan to call any evidence.
Four additional accused, Christopher Lysak, Anthony Olienick, Jerry Morin and Chris Carbert, have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Morin’s matter was also in court Monday, but adjourned to June 20. Olienick and Carbert return to court Friday, while Lysak’s next court hearing is set for June 13.
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