Thursday, February 24, 2022

Why those truckers are screwed.

Quite a number of truly stupid people are currently yammering on about how the recent occupation of Ottawa was a "legal" protest, and that those truckers had a right to be there, and Charter rights and blah blah blah ... and here's why all of that is nonsense. It was, in fact, an unlawful protest for a very simple reason:

Because the police said so.

That's it, that's the reason, and here's why it's legally unassailable.

You're free to, on your own time, blather on about the Constitution and freedom of association and speech and expression and whatever the hell you like, but if, at some point, you are approached by an agent of the law, and told clearly and unambiguously that you are now breaking the law, then you are, in fact, breaking the law. Put another way, if you're told that your gathering is illegal, then it is illegal, and no one is interested in your legal grandstanding. You're welcome to argue all that later if you want, but at that moment, you're breaking the law, which is why hearings for all these suspended truckers should go something like this:

"So, were you told to leave or you would be arrested?"
"And did you leave?"

That's it -- if a police officer orders you to do something, and you don't do it, well, you're screwed. That's how it works. And that's why all those truckers should right now be looking for another line of work.


Anonymous said...

But your honour, the police were our allies and allowed us to ignore a court order and continue our crime spree for 3 weeks! We thought they were joking when they told us to move on.

Anonymous said...

Besides, we're whipeepoh, only the Charter applies to us. How were we supposed to know Turdo would send in racist cops from Vancouver to fire riot canisters at us? You should arrest those guys. Some of them were darker than what we're used to in Arnprior. They're obviously biased against us.

MgS said...

While the police do have broad powers to tell people to move on or to break up a public disturbance, they do walk something of a line too. They do have to respect fundamentals of law and civil rights - they can't just decide "I don't like you, I get to tell you to move on" - that degenerates into wonderful practices like "carding" - that's so much fun.

* That said, it's bloody obvious with what happened the last month, that the police were quite cozy with the protestors at various locations. So ... doing their jobs? Not so much.

CC said...

MgS: No. And I apparently need to write something about this later, but if you are given a "lawful order" by police, and you refuse to obey it, you can be arrested. This is not up for debate.

Now, you can always fight the arrest later, and have it found illegal, or what have you, but if police inform you that your assembly is unlawful, then it is BY DEFINITION unlawful and you need to leave.

Why is this so difficult to understand?

MgS said...

I'm quite aware of those things - but once the police declare something "unlawful", they have to be able to back it up later in court - and that's the line they walk. Otherwise, it turns into harassment.

CC said...

MgS: Yes, I know that ... my only point is that if a cop is standing in front of you giving you an order, that is not the time to start debating Charter rights.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how Conservatives cheered the illegal brutality of the 2010 G20 Toronto summit but are now crying the illegal trucker convey that did more economic damage to Canada.

Conservatism should be declared a mental illness.

Purple library guy said...

It feels like what you're saying is that we have Charter rights, except the police can legitimately override them at any time for any reason. I'm not convinced.

It is not by definition illegal to disobey the orders of a police officer. It may not be wise, but it's not illegal. In fact, I'd say having it be by definition illegal to disobey the orders of a police officer is kind of the definition of a "police state".

Rev.Paperboy said...

Criminal code of Canada section 129 Every one who (a) resists or wilfully obstructs a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty or any person lawfully acting in aid of such an officer, (b) omits, without reasonable excuse, to assist a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty in arresting a person or in preserving the peace, after having reasonable notice that he is required to do so, or (c) resists or wilfully obstructs any person in the lawful execution of a process against lands or goods or in making a lawful distress or seizure, is guilty of (d) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or (e) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Dr.Dawg said...

I've argued with cops plenty. They were wrong, and I was right. That's it, that's all. In no way was I breaking the law because a cop was overreaching.

It's largely a matter of bluff and counter-bluff, in many cases.

Purple library guy said...

That's all fine Rev. Paperboy, but if you look at it, it does not actually either refute what I said or exactly say what CC said. There are some key caveats there. For instance, "in the execution of his duty". Not everything a police officer could do or order would be "the execution of his duty". For instance, if they are doing something illegal, surely that is not their duty, and you would not be committing an offence by failing to obey. So if a cop wants to rape you, you surely do not have to obey their orders facilitating that process.
For less extreme cases, let's talk about filming. It is not illegal to film police officers doing things in public. The police know this. But police officers very often order people to stop filming them, and will also fairly often move to confiscate people's cell phones etc. to avoid having their actions recorded. Since the activity they are preventing is not illegal, and they know it perfectly well, I would argue that it is not in fact their duty to prevent being recorded, and thus not illegal to ignore their order to stop recording them, or seek to keep one's cell phone.

Peaceful protest is an interesting and important case, with a lot of variations depending what ELSE the protestor is doing--but I think it's clear that in and of itself, peaceful protest is not illegal in this country. In which case unless they have some OTHER reason for arrest, cops arresting protestors is not doing their duty. In the case of the convoy, an awful lot of them WERE doing other things that actually were unlawful. But I'm not willing to accept a doctrine that says lawful actions become unlawful the moment the police claim they are, or that it can be the police's duty to make illegitimate arrests, thus transforming any and all disobedience of police into a criminal offence even if they're robbing or raping you (both cases which, while extreme, certainly do happen).