The assault trial for a high-profile anti-COVID-mandate protester is continuing along at a glacial pace, though the end is purportedly near.
Crown counsellor David Grabavac said the trial for David Lindsay is scheduled until Friday and he is calling four more witnesses before it wraps up. It’s not known yet how many witnesses Lindsay will call upon.
On Tuesday, Grabavac called Gregory Smith, the manager of protection services at Interior Health, to testify. He is the man who Lindsay is said to have assaulted.
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While watching two minutes of video footage of the Aug. 19, 2021, interaction, Smith offered testimony about where he was when he made contact with Lindsay, what happened, and his understanding of the events that day.
The video shows the two men close to one another. Lindsay is told he’s not allowed to enter and indicates he’s going to.
“When Mr. Lindsay started to approach the doorway, what if anything did you do with your body to get ready for it?” Grabavac asked Smith.
“I placed my feet and my body in a supportive position anticipating his trying to push past,” Smith said.
Lindsay, he said, was standing in a similar position with his arms at his sides, something that’s reinforced in video footage.
Police and about half a dozen protesters are also present when Lindsay walks forward, seemingly making contact with Smith. Police are then called in for what Smith described to them as “assault.”
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The trial judge said the issue at the heart of the trial is whether or not Lindsay used intentional force against Smith but Lindsay tried to argue it was more complicated than that.
Self-represented, Lindsay asked Smith in cross-examination to go over some of the history they had.
Smith told the court that Lindsay had been among a group of people who often hurled insults and abusive and threatening comments in gatherings at the Interior Health building, but he had never seen Lindsay do as much.
Smith was also prompted to explain that he had banned Lindsay from the building based on interactions a week earlier. At that time, Lindsay and his like-minded companions had set up in its lobby to protest restrictions related to the pandemic.
Lindsay also promotes Smith to discuss the details of how he could be banned access from a public building, positing that when barred entry to a public facility he was the one who was being assaulted. Also, he wanted clarification on what Interior Health was.
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Those arguments didn’t get fully aired with the judge pointing out it wasn’t germane to the case at hand.
“Not at this trial. I am not going to be considering in my decision whether or not you had a right to be there,” Judge Cathaline Heinrichs said.
“Whether or not a ban that was imposed was legitimately imposed or not legitimately, that is not the issue for me to decide. The only thing I’m looking at is whether there was intentional force applied to a person without their consent. That is the narrow issue that I have to decide.”
And Crown, she said, has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt intentional force, jurisdiction and identity.
“You have the right to defend yourself and to consider all of the defenses that are available,” she said.
Defences for that crime include self-defence, intoxication, or accident.
Lindsay had more than a dozen supporters in the courtroom with him on Tuesday.
The trial was originally scheduled for three days in March but stretched after a stuttered start, with Lindsay initially not wanting to participate.
When judge Heinrichs was told by Lindsay Tuesday that she seemed to be rushing the progress of the trial along, potentially to the detriment of his defence, she indicated she has every intention of having the trial end by Friday.
That, she said, is one of her responsibilities as a judge.
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