People who committed crimes during the occupation of downtown Ottawa could still face criminal charges long after leaving the scene, and a criminal lawyer said that includes an Ottawa Valley MPP.
Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MPP Randy Hillier was seen on video on Parliament Hill during the occupation, attempting to move crowd control fencing used by the police. On Twitter, he appeared to urge people to jam 911 lines with non-emergency calls.
The Parliamentary Protective Services are restricting access to Parliament Hill by obstructing the entranceways, creating safety concerns for demonstrators. I call on the PPS to completely open Parliament Hill, or we might have to open it up for ourselves. #FreedomConvoy2022 pic.twitter.com/lgFwEb17Mr— Randy Hillier (@randyhillier) January 29, 2022
"What we've seen from this sitting MPP, Mr. Hillier, gives the police reasonable and probable grounds to arrest him," said Michael Spratt, a criminal defence lawyer and partner with Abergel Goldstein and Partners LLP. "He should be arrested now."
Tamara Lich and Pat King, two of the ringleaders of the convoy and ensuing occupation of downtown Ottawa, are in jail, both charged with counselling to commit the offence of mischief. King is also charged with mischief, counselling to disobey a court order and counselling to obstruct police.
"Surely, if Mr. King and Ms. Lich were charged, Mr. Hillier should be charged and he should be in the prisoner's dock beside them," said Spratt.
Spratt says unlike the United States, Canada has no statute of limitations and that someone who committed a crime during the occupation but then left the area could still face arrest, after the fact.
"If the leaders and organizers of this protest were arrested for using their platform to encourage others to unlawfully gather, to commit mischief, to disobey court orders, Mr. Hillier was, too, long after the true nature and harm that this protest was causing became apparent," said Spratt.
This will be my first ever protest during "the war measures Act" come and join with us and make Canadian History. It will be a joyous festive weekend. games of Road "warrior" hockey, Emergency bouncy castles & political hot water tubs etc. #FreedomConvoy2022 #cdnpolitics https://t.co/npvUlvDkhh— Randy Hillier (@randyhillier) February 16, 2022
Ottawa police say they are aware of Hillier's activities during the occupation and are looking into them.
"We are aware of the claims and Ottawa Police is reviewing the social media posts," a police spokesperson said, in a written statement to CityNews.