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Investigation probes livestreams of Pat King’s bail hearing

Crown assigns investigator to look into allegations that King supporter Kerry Komix can be seen in the background of an illegal live feed
Via Facebook

The justice of the peace who presided over Patrick King's bail hearing in Ottawa has issued a stern warning about illegal livestreams of the proceedings.

"It has come to my attention that there were some livestreams," Justice Andrew Seymour said as an afternoon session of the hearing commenced on Friday. 

"That is an offence contrary to the Courts of Justice Act, Section 136."

"Any individuals who are choosing to livestream this, I will advise you that you are breaking the law," said Seymour.

Section 136 of the Courts of Justice Act prohibits recording, photographing, publishing or broadcasting a court proceeding in any way, unless prior judicial authorization has been granted.

The prohibition applies both to those present in the courtroom and anyone attending via courthouse livestream because of COVID precautions.

Exceptions may be made for members of news media and public who wish to make audio recordings for purposes of note-taking, but express permission must first be given by the presiding judicial officer.

Earlier in the day, Justice Seymour had responded favourably to a request from SooToday for leave to record, after neither the Crown nor Pat King's defence lawyer objected.

"I have made an exception today to allow for journalists to make audio recordings of the proceedings for the purposes of note-taking," said Justice Seymour, who worked as an Ottawa Citizen reporter during an earlier career.

Later on Friday, just as Seymour was about to announce his reasons for denying bail to King, assistant Crown attorney Moiz Karimjee told the court he had received information that Kerry Komix, the Alberta woman who offered to stand surety for King, had allegedly been seen in the background of one of the livestreams.

"I have asked my investigator to investigate," Karimjee said.

"If that comes to fruition... that could change the landscape of what happened and what other applications the Crown might bring."

King's lawyer, W. Calvin Rosemond, dismissed that assertion as being "completely out of line" and an attempt to "sully the reputation of the surety."

King, a former Saultite now living in Alberta, is facing four criminal charges related to his role as a leader at the Ottawa Freedom Convoy protests: mischief, counselling to commit mischief, counselling to disobey a court order and counselling to obstruct police.

"The evidence here of Mr. King’s participation in and counselling an uncommitted indictable offence is overwhelming. There is evidence of videos Mr. King himself posted," Justice Seymour said Friday in denying bail.

"They are his words, coming directly from his mouth. There is substantial evidence supporting his participation and leadership of the Freedom Convoy."

"It is alleged that Mr. King was one of the leaders of the Freedom Convoy 2022, which led to the widespread blockade of downtown City of Ottawa streets for a three-week period beginning on Jan. 28, 2022."

"Demonstrators blockaded streets with large trucks and tractor-trailers. They launched an offensive of horn honking that caused significant distress to residents living in the downtown neighbourhoods adjacent to the Parliamentary precinct where many of the demonstrators were gathered," Justice Seymour said.

"The Ottawa police reported that they received more than 600 complaints in the first week alone, including excessive noise complaints, assaults by demonstrators, harassment by demonstrators and threats by demonstrators toward those wearing masks, or those who asked them to wear masks when entering businesses."

"The impact of what can only be described as an occupation was significant and widespread. Public services such as Ottawa City Hall and Service Ontario, two city library branches and a pair of childcare centres were closed. Public schools near the demonstration area had to shift to online learning."

"The Rideau Centre Shopping Centre, along with 90 other nearby businesses had to shutter their doors as a direct result of the blockade. This caused significant economic loss to the businesses as well as their employees, who were unable to go to work and earn an income. Public transit had to be rerouted away from the downtown. Vulnerable individuals who rely on shelters in the downtown core were subject to harassment and the constant barrage of noise. It left them and many other downtown residents fearful to be on the streets."

"The occupation continued unabated despite repeated requests by the city, provincial and federal governments and the Ottawa police for it to end."

"The occupation of the downtown core was unprecedented in Canadian history. It resulted in the declarations of two separate states of emergency and the invoking of the federal Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history."

"On Feb. 6, 2022 the Mayor of Ottawa declared the ongoing impact of the occupation."

"On Feb. 7, 2022, a Superior Court injunction was issued restraining any person from using air or train horns, with certain limitations, in the area of the demonstration."

"On Feb. 9, 2022 Ottawa police sent a press release directed toward the demonstrators indicating they may be committing a criminal offence and to cease the unlawful activity."

"On Feb. 11, 2022, the Premier of Ontario made a declaration of an emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act."

"And on Feb. 14, 2022, the Prime Minister invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history."

"There was evidence filed by the Crown alleging that what happened in Ottawa was premediated and intended to cause maximum disruption. It was not just a handful of people that were victimized, but thousands who were held hostage by noise and disruption."

"The mischief that is alleged to have occurred in Ottawa is at the highest end given its scope and duration."

"It is alleged that Mr. King, who is described as a co-founder of the Freedom Convoy, showed an indifferent attitude to the plight of Ottawans and likened his group’s tactics to the Art of War."

"There were video exhibits led by the Crown that showed Mr. King encouraging individuals participating in the demonstration to mislead police as to why they were entering the downtown core. There were also videos encouraging demonstrators to not leave the downtown or residential areas no matter what police or government asked them and to disobey court orders."

"It should be noted that Mr. King repeatedly states in the videos that he does not want the demonstration to be violent, and frequently implores participants to refrain from engaging with the police and to remain peaceful."

"Mr. King is not accused of offences of violence – the allegations here relate to mischief and the counselling of others to commit mischief, obstruct police and disobey court orders. Those are the offences that I am considering...." Seymour said.

Denied bail, King must now remain in custody until his trial.

He's prohibited from communicating with other convoy leaders including Tamara Lich.

King's next court appearance is March 18.

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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