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Hospital check-in delays B.C. Freedom Rally organizer's sentencing

Hospital check-in delays B.C. Freedom Rally organizer's sentencing
Hospital check-in delays B.C. Freedom Rally organizer's sentencing

اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الأربعاء 10 يوليو 2024 07:18 مساءً

A Kelowna Freedom Rally organizer's sentencing has been delayed due to a sudden medical emergency.

A small crowd of supporters waited for David Lindsay to appear in a Kelowna courtroom for a 9:30 a.m. hearing.

However, Lindsay's partner, Bettina Engler, informed the court he was in hospital and had checked into the emergency room early in the morning after reporting intestinal pain.

This sentencing, in what was to be the final day and chapter of a trial that began more than 16 months ago, was delayed and will be rescheduled on Friday.

Judge orders doctor's note

Police were sent to Kelowna General Hospital and confirmed Lindsay was admitted, and observed he was "in pain," receiving an intravenous drip, but "stable."

At Judge Cathaline Heinrichs's request, medical staff provided Engler with a doctor's note confirming his condition.

"The doctor has indicated that he has an acute medical condition that requires hospitalization for 24 hours, potentially longer," Heinrichs told the court, reading the doctor's note.

Engler told Heinrichs that Lindsay's "voice is still hoarse, and he's still in pain" but that he was cognitive and awake.

Heinrichs suggested Lindsay's sentencing could be done by cellphone video from hospital.

David Lindsay leaves the Kelowna, B.C., courthouse with his supporters following the first day of his trial on Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Lindsay leaves the Kelowna, B.C., courthouse with his supporters following the first day of his trial on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 (Brady Strachan / CBC)

However, prosecutor David Grabavac argued that the Crown wished to ensure as much fairness as possible.

"Given the fact we've got a letter from the doctor, albeit it's a little bit vague as to what it is, the doctor says he's going to be in there for 24 hours. I'd be reluctant to proceed just on the basis of fairness for him in that way," Grabavac said.

"Quite frankly, it'd be one less ground for appeal."

16-month-long trial beset by delays

In December, Lindsay was found guilty of two counts of assault caused while trying to enter an Interior Health building during an August 2021 protest.

He was one of the leaders of the Okanagan Freedom Rally, which held regular demonstrations against government mandates and health-care policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lindsay has a long history of court dealings, making pseudo-legal arguments to challenge various aspects of tax legislation and the authority of the Canadian state and the courts.   In 2006, he was declared a "vexatious litigant" in the Supreme Court of B.C., meaning he cannot commence legal proceedings in any B.C. court without prior approval.

His criminal trial has faced repeated delays, rescheduling and extensions for issues arising from Lindsay's self-representation in court, tactics and arguments.

At the start of his trial on March 2, 2023, a warrant was issued for his arrest after he initially refused to enter the courtroom. He refused to enter a plea and said he would not participate in the trial.

Heinrichs later dismissed two applications Lindsay brought forward during his trial — including a constitutional application challenging Canada's RCMP Act.

Heinrichs also found Lindsay in contempt of court for comments he made to the judge during a hearing in June 2023.

During sentencing, Grabavac told the court the maximum sentence for assault is two years in prison, and he intends to argue that a prison sentence is warranted in this case.

On Wednesday, Grabovac informed the court that Lindsay is expected to file applications challenging some possible sentencing punishments, including any court-ordered monitoring.

Lindsay has already filed an appeal of this December 2023 assault conviction.

That appeal is scheduled to begin later this month in Kelowna.

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