June 18th, 2024

Trial begins for men charged with conspiracy to commit murder at Coutts blockade

By The Canadian Press on June 6, 2024.

A truck convoy of anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate demonstrators block the highway at the busy Canada-U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alta., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – Two men charged with conspiracy to commit murder at the Coutts, Alta., border blockade have entered not guilty pleas on the first day of their jury trial.

Anthony Olienick and Chris Carbert were arrested in 2022 after RCMP found a cache of guns, body armour and ammunition in trailers.

They are also charged with mischief and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Olienick faces an additional charge of being in possession of a pipe bomb.

Crown prosecutors have said they plan to call 23 witnesses during the trial, most of them RCMP.

The blockade, part of protests held across the country against COVID-19 vaccine mandates, paralyzed the busy Canada-United States border crossing for more than two weeks.

Justice David Labrenz instructed jurors to disregard their beliefs and avoid jumping to conclusions during the trial.

“Perceptions can create a bias,” he said.

“You will be asked to judge this fairly. It is your duty to set aside any of those biases.”

He said the trial could go until the middle of July.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 6, 2024.

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