Convoy of truckers in Ottawa |  One of the accused pleads guilty

Convoy of truckers in Ottawa | One of the accused pleads guilty

(Ottawa) Tyson Billings exited the Ottawa Courthouse on Wednesday, waving a Canadian flag amid thunderous cheers and honking after pleading guilty to charges related to the “Freedom Convoy.”

Posted 10:56am Updated 1:13pm


Laura Osman The Canadian Press

“Freedom George” pleaded guilty to counseling in connection with his participation in the protest that paralyzed part of downtown Ottawa in February. He was sentenced to a term of imprisonment equal to the number of days he had been in preventive detention since February, on condition that he would not disturb public order. He must also comply with a probationary period of six months.

Tyson Billings, nicknamed “Freedom George” by fellow protesters, served 116 days in jail before pleading guilty to taking counsel to commit mischief. In exchange for this objection, the Crown dropped other charges, including intimidation, obstruction of policing, mischief and disobeying a court order.

Crown Prosecutor Moiz Karimjee told the court he could have tried to prove the other allegations against Mr Billings and called for a longer prison sentence but decided against it as this defendant is the first actor in the convoy to take responsibility for his actions. The prosecutor was also careful to point out that the accused was not one of the leaders of these demonstrations.

“I have no regrets: I am a freedom fighter,” Mr. Billings said outside the Ottawa courthouse minutes after his release, amid encouragement from about fifty supporters, some of whom had attended the February demonstrations with him.

Tyson Billings has been a key figure in the three-week protests against mandatory health measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 – but also against the federal government in general.

Protesters in heavy trucks blocked streets for weeks, setting up encampments, forcing small businesses to close and unleashing what police and politicians have dubbed “lawlessness” in downtown Ottawa.

According to an agreed set of facts read in court, Mr Billings had appeared in social media videos disregarding police checkpoints set up to prevent protesters from entering downtown Ottawa and encouraging others to do the same thwart. Mr Billings had also included videos of himself giving a bellicose speech to police and encouraging other protesters to stand their ground.

“I was, of course, swept up in what was happening – who wouldn’t? said Mr. Billings as he left the court. ” I regret nothing. ”

Before being released by court, Mr Billings listened to the court proceedings from the dock, his arms folded over a black T-shirt that read “Fear God Not COVID”.

Mr Billings was originally charged in this trial along with one of the main organizers of the protests, Pat King. Now that the other charges against Mr. Billings have been dropped, Mr. King will face those charges alone and his trial is expected to proceed as scheduled.