Trial set for 2023 for men charged with conspiracy to kill at Alberta border blockade

By Bill Graveland in Lethbridge

A trial by judge and jury is scheduled for next year for four men charged with conspiracy to commit murder at a border blockade in southern Alberta.

Chris Carbert, Chris Lysak, Anthony Olienick and Jerry Morin were charged in February after RCMP found a cache of firearms, body armor and ammunition in trailers during a protest near Coutts, in Alberta.

Lysak, who is 48, is also charged with uttering threats, possession of a weapon and mischief against property over $5,000.

On Monday, in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Lethbridge, Alta., Judge Charlene Anderson ordered the four men, who are being tried together, to stand trial for three weeks, from June 12 to June 30.

The Crown chose to proceed with a direct indictment, which eliminates the need for a preliminary inquiry before trial.

Lysak’s attorney, Jim Lutz, had urged the court to set a trial date as soon as possible. Lysak, Olienick and Morin have already been denied bail and will be in custody for 16 months before the start of the 2023 trial.

A judge is expected to issue a bail decision for Carbert next week.

The court heard there is a large amount of information about the case, including wiretaps and summaries.

The blockade paralyzed the busy U.S. border crossing at Coutts for more than two weeks in late January amid protests over COVID-19 vaccination mandates for truckers and broader pandemic health restrictions.

A total of 14 people were arrested following an RCMP raid in February.

The gendarmerie discovered 13 long guns, handguns, a machete, a large quantity of ammunition and bulletproof vests. Two additional weapons were seized later in the day.

Two tactical vests seized by the RCMP bore badges, which the Canadian Anti-Hate Network says are linked to disturbing movements.

One of the vests bore a “Diagolon” patch, a white diagonal line across a black rectangle, which is linked to an often conspiratorial and anti-Semitic group.

Police allege the group was prepared to use force if the blockade was broken and described the threat as “very serious”.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 11, 2022.

Elna M. Lemons