'An attack on the rule of law:' Convoy protest leader Pat King denied bail
Pat King, one of the leaders of the 'Freedom Convoy' protest in Ottawa, has been denied bail.
In his ruling, Justice of the Peace Andrew Seymour said the evidence of King's participation and leadership role in the protest is "overwhelming," calling his alleged offences “an attack on the rule of law.”
King, 44, was among the most visible leaders of the three-week occupation. He faces charges of mischief, counselling to commit mischief, counselling to commit the offence of disobeying a court order and counselling to obstruct police.
He was arrested last Friday in Ottawa, which he captured on a Facebook livestream, and has been in custody since.
Seymour said he believed there is a substantial likelihood King would commit offences similar to the ones he's accused of if he were released from custody.
Seymour called the evidence of King's leadership and participation in the convoy "overwhelming," citing his videos on social media before and during the occupation.
"That evidence paints a portrait of an individual who has clear intention to continue his protests and is indifferent to the consequences," he ruled.
He also questioned the credibility of King's proposed surety, Kerry Komix, who met King four weeks ago while accompanying him to Ottawa for the protest. Komix pledged $50,000 to guarantee King's bail, saying he would live in a spare room of her Alberta home and wear an electronic tracking bracelet.
But Seymour noted that King was accepting no financial risk of his own were he to breach his conditions.
In a thorough 15-page ruling, Seymour also laid out the impact of the convoy protests on downtown residents, saying it caused "significant distress" and calling the occupation of Ottawa's downtown core "unprecedented in Canadian history."
"The impact of what can only be described as an occupation was significant and widespread," he said. "It shook Ottawans and Canadians' faith in institutions such as government and the police to protect them. The alleged offences are extraordinarly serious.
"In short, it is an overwhelming case."
King is due back in court on March 18. He was also forbidden from communicating with other convoy organizers, including Chris Barber and Tamara Lich.
Lich was denied bail on Tuesday by an Ontario court judge. She remains in custody.
Earlier on Friday, the Crown applied to reopen the bail hearing to present new evidence about King's alleged purchase of a handgun while out on bail on a previous charge in 2016.
However, Seymour denied that application, saying the potential unfairness and delay that would result from reopening the hearing outweighed the potential value of the material.
You can read Justice of the Peace Seymour's full ruling below.