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Undercover Mountie questioned on whether she misinterpreted Coutts border protest

Anti-mandate demonstrators gather as a truck convoy blocks the highway at the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alta., Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. An undercover police officer is set to face more cross-examination today at the murder-conspiracy trial of two protesters at the border blockade at Coutts, Alta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh Anti-mandate demonstrators gather as a truck convoy blocks the highway at the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alta., Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. An undercover police officer is set to face more cross-examination today at the murder-conspiracy trial of two protesters at the border blockade at Coutts, Alta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
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An undercover Mountie who infiltrated the Coutts border blockade faced questions in court Thursday on her police work and whether she misinterpreted what was really going on. 

The officer, who can’t be identified, was under cross-examination by the lawyer for one of two men accused of conspiring to murder police at the blockade in 2022. 

Anthony (Tony) Olienick and Chris Carbert are on trial in Court of King’s Bench on charges surrounding the blockade, which snarled traffic at the Canada-U.S. border at Coutts, Alta., for two weeks to protest COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates. 

The officer, identified in court only as HQ1298, posed as a volunteer at the blockade. 

She has testified that Olienick confided in her he expected to die in the standoff and planned to slit the throats of police. 

She said Olienick also referred to police as the “devil’s arms,” which he explained was a way of saying police were doing the bidding of the “devil” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

Defence lawyer Katherin Beyak suggested to the officer that the focus of the protest -- and most of the supporters -- was anger at government and not the RCMP. 

"What I'm going to suggest to you is the frustration that was being expressed, not only by Tony, but also by other people ... was at the government as opposed to the RCMP. Would you agree with that?" Beyak asked. 

"No,” the officer replied.  

“The only person that talks about the police or the RCMP excessively is Tony. 

“My conversations with Mr. Olienick are very much focused on the existence of a war. Nobody else talks about an existence of a war taking place with ... the RCMP." 

Beyak is the lawyer for Carbert, but most of the Crown testimony to date has focused on the actions and words of Olienick. 

HQ1298 has testified to her conversations and subsequent notes she made on conversations with Olienick 

Beyak suggested the notes lacked critical context given they referred only to what Olienick said and not to what HQ1298 said. 

"If it was something significant I had said, I obviously would have documented it,” the officer replied. 

“My goal is to see what the truth is. Nothing more, nothing less." 

When it came to the second accused, Carbert, the officer told court she hadn’t even been introduced to him until a few days into the undercover operation and that her interactions with him were limited.

“During (the first two days) I understand you did not have any contact or even see Mr. Carbert. Is that correct? asked Beyak.

The officer replied she wasn’t aware of seeing Carbert on one occasion and would not have known who he was if had been around on the second.

"Obviously you did not have any interaction with him," said Beyak.

"No I did not."

A second undercover officer, known as HQ1516, took the stand late in the afternoon.

She said she has been doing undercover work since 2015 and spent just two days in Coutts. She was asked by Crown prosecutor Steven Johnston about undercover operatives using romance to obtain information.

"You will never violate anyone's sexual integrity. You're not covered (legally) as well as morally. It's just not something I would do for myself or anyone else," HQ1516 said.

Olienick and Carbert were arrested after Mounties found a cache of guns, body armour and ammunition in trailers in the area. 

The two are also charged with mischief and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. Olienick faces a further charge of being in possession of a pipe bomb. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2024. 

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