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Hearings for accused in Coutts border blockade pushed to March


Four Alberta men accused of plotting to kill Mounties during the Coutts border blockade had court hearings postponed to next month on Friday.

A Lethbridge judge adjourned the matter to March 15 after learning from the lawyer representing two of the defendants that more time was needed to prepare the case.

The prosecution agreed, saying it also needed time to review the evidence.

Chris Carbert, Christopher Lysak, Anthony Olienick and Jerry Morin remain in custody. 

Police arrested them on Monday, accusing the four of planning to take action against Mounties if officers moved in.

“The group was said to have a willingness to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade,” RCMP said in a release on Monday.

They did not appear in court, either in-person or via video link.

Three of the accused were known to police before the illegal blockade. 

Carbert has an extensive rap sheet, including charges for drug trafficking and assault. 

Morin has previously been sentenced for unauthorized possession of a firearm and making threats. 


Lysak was also known to police — and to The Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAHN).

They believe he's part of a right wing militia group. 

"They talk about going after their perceived enemies, such as media, certain political parties and anybody they deem to be communist," CAHN's Kurt Phillips told CTV News. "I could certainly understand why they would want to be in kind of the tip of the spear, so to speak, to see what they can do to widen those divisions further."

The group, Diagolon, left online traces of its presence in Coutts. 

Patches with its insignia were found on a vest police seized in a weapons bust on Monday. 

It can be categorized as an “accelerationist” group, according to researchers who study extremism. CAHN calls it a loose network of people with neo-fascist, militant views. 

Without naming any specific group, federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino alluded to ties between protesters in Ottawa and the Alberta arrests while speaking to reporters Wednesday. 

"Several of the individuals at Coutts have strong ties to a far-right extreme organization with leaders who are in Ottawa," he said. "We’re talking about a group that is organized, agile, knowledgeable and driven by an extremist ideology where might makes right.”

Earlier this week, officers executed a public safety warrant at Lysak's father's home. 

No one answered the door when CTV News knocked on Friday. 


Carbert and Morin frequently posted on social media during the blockade. 

During one stream, the latter stated the Coutts situation was "a war."

Morin also appeared to live broadcast his vehicle being pulled over by RCMP on Monday morning. It's believed that's when he was arrested. 

His lawyer said Friday he is preparing bail applications for his clients.


The four accused men are scheduled to be included on a full court docket March 15. 

Nine others who were charged in connection with the blockade are also slated to appear.

Ursula Allred of Magrath, Luke Berk of Red Deer, Evan Colenutt, Justin Martin, Stewart Eastin Oler and Janx Zaremba of Raymond, Johnson Law of Calgary, Joanne Person of Coutts and Jaclyne Martin are also facing charges. 

Allred, Berk, Martin, Oler, Zaremba and Law have been released on bail. 

Their conditions include having no contact with their co-accused. They're also not allowed at any protests.

Charges against Berk and Law were later withdrawn. 


One University of Alberta Law Professor says he'll be watching the cases closely -- especially the cases involving conspiracy charges. 

"They are very, very serious charges," said Peter Sankoff. "They will face a very lengthy period of imprisonment if they’re convicted. I’m guessing that the police are sitting on some pretty interesting evidence, most likely statements or wiretaps."

RCMP discovered a cache of weapons, ammunition and body armour earlier this week, leading to the arrests and eventual break up of the weeks-long blockade. 

None of the charges have been proven in court.

With files from CTV Calgary's Timm Bruch Top Stories

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