By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on December 13, 2023.
One of four men accused of plotting to kill RCMP officers during the Coutts protest and blockade in 2022 has parted ways with his lawyer, raising concerns about more delays in the high-profile case.
“I feel the relationship we had has deteriorated,” Anthony Olienick said Monday in Lethbridge Court of King’s Bench, where his lawyer, Tonii Roulston of Calgary, was allowed to withdraw as his counsel.
The judge, Crown and one other lawyer expressed concern about the withdrawal and its impact on the case, particularly since the four men and their lawyers are in the middle of pre-trial applications.
One of those application hearings was scheduled to run this week, but part way through day-one of the hearing Monday, it had to be cancelled given Roulston’s withdrawal. The court is tentatively scheduled to reconvene Feb. 5-9 to hear motions, but in the meantime Olienick is set to return Jan. 8 to confirm whether he has a new lawyer, which would be his third, or will represent himself at subsequent hearings, including trial.
Calgary lawyer Greg Dunn, who represents one of the accused, Jerry Morin, also expressed concern about the delay and pointed out it affects everyone involved with the case, including the other accused who have the right to a timely trial.
Olienick, of Claresholm, Christopher Lysak and Chris Carbert of Lethbridge, and Jerry Morin of Olds, are all charged with conspiracy to commit murder stemming from the border protest, which began in late January, 2022, and lasted until Feb. 15 when protestors began dispersing in response to the discovery of weapons.
RCMP arrested the accused, as well as several other individuals, during the blockade of trucks and vehicles at the Coutts border, after becoming aware of a cache of firearms and ammunition. In addition to the conspiracy charge, the men were also charged with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and mischief.
Three other men accused of organizing the border blockade and protests are set to stand trial April 2-19, 2024. Alex Van Herk, George Janzen, and Fort Macleod councillor Marco Van Huigenbos each face a charge of mischief over $5,000.
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