June 24th, 2024

Charges against Coutts protester stayed by Crown


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on December 7, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A former Raymond man arrested last February in connection with the protest at the Coutts border is no longer facing prosecution.

Charges of mischief to property and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose against Janx Zaremba were stayed by the Crown Tuesday 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.

Zaremba, 19, is one of several people who were arrested during the blockade of trucks and vehicles at the Coutts border, after RCMP found a cache of guns, body armour and ammunition in trailers near the protest. The protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other pandemic restrictions began in late January and lasted until Feb. 15 when protestors began dispersing in response to the discovery of weapons.

Identical charges against two of the accused, Johnson Law and Luke Berk, were stayed in July, but charges against five other people, Ursulla Allred, Evan Colenut, Jaclyne Martin, Justin Martin and Easton Oler, are proceeding to trial next July.

Another accused, Joanne Person of Coutts, pleaded not guilty in August to her charges, and elected to be tried by a Court of King’s Bench judge and a jury, with a preliminary hearing. The one-day hearing is set for January of next year. Person is also scheduled for trial Feb. 16-17, 2023 on one 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.

Four more accused, Christopher Lysak, Anthony Olienick, Jerry Morin and Chris Carbert, face a charge of conspiracy to commit murder and are scheduled to stand trial June 12-30, 2023. The Crown elected to proceed by direct indictment, which bypasses a preliminary hearing, and all four men have been denied bail in Court of King’s Bench and remain in custody. Lysak is also charged with uttering threats, possession of a weapon and mischief to property over $5,000.

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