The assault trial for a Kelowna man who’s most well-known for leading so-called “freedom rallies” but is also no stranger to B.C.’s courts is likely to go beyond the two days it was originally scheduled due to an unusually rocky start.
But the man who’s at the centre of it all said it’s proceeding “as expected.”
David Lindsay was charged with assault in the aftermath of an Aug. 19, 2021 rally against COVID-19 restrictions outside of the Interior Health building in Kelowna.
The rallies were a fixture in the city throughout the pandemic and some garnered crowds hundreds strong, with Lindsay the centre point of most. These events were so constant and at times so chaotic, the city has since petitioned the courts to grant it the tools to stop them from carrying on.
At the rally in question, Lindsay is alleged to have applied too much force in his dealings with two security guards at the building’s entry. The trial looking into the matter started Wednesday and was expected to be over by Thursday but that now seems unlikely.
Lindsay’s reported desire to not partake in the process as it initially unfolded, B.C. provincial court judge Cathaline Heinrichs having to enter a not-guilty plea on his behalf and an issue with his dozens of supporters are among the factors that made for a rocky start, allowing for little evidence to be shown.
Head organizer for Kelowna freedom rallies back in court
By Thursday, those issues appeared to have been worked out. The court had put a barrier in front of the courtroom where the trial was being heard, forcing supporters to queue up, and there were more sheriffs on hand.
Once inside, the trial continued without interruption, though at a glacial pace.
The day started with Lindsay cross-examining Crown counsel’s first witness, Const. Daniel Fortier, who was the first to arrive on the scene of the assault complaint. Lindsay asked him why he wasn’t stopped before entering the Interior Health building that day in August 2021, considering he’d been banned.
Fortier replied that he told Lindsay that he had a right to protest outside the building but also offered a warning about the consequences of doing so.
Fortier said he remembered that Lindsay had made “no threats, otherwise he would have acted on them,” however, he was adamant about his position of entering the building.
Lindsay also asked questions about the weather on the day and what he was wearing and if Fortier presumed that he’d been carrying any weapons when he went to the scene.
The validity of some questions was called into question by Heinrichs throughout the morning sitting.
During the lunch break, Lindsay said that the trial was moving ahead exactly as he expected and, while he didn’t want to discuss the matter further, he did question how much money the government was paying to prosecute.
Lindsay was declared a vexatious litigant in B.C. in 2006, which means he cannot initiate a lawsuit without a judge’s permission.
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