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Murder-conspiracy trial hears two Edmonton police officers supported Coutts blockade

A truck convoy of anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate demonstrators block the highway at the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alta., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh A truck convoy of anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate demonstrators block the highway at the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alta., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

A COVID-era protest blockade at Coutts, Alta. — now at the centre of a murder-conspiracy trial — was getting outside support, including from two members of the Edmonton Police Service, court heard Monday.

An undercover Mountie who infiltrated the blockade posing as a volunteer testified, "We made some small talk there with a lady. Her husband was an Edmonton police member and she was a nurse.

“She wanted to come and see it for herself and show her support.

"I believe her husband was there.

"He was an Edmonton police member, and there was another female Edmonton police member there as well, and she had sort of a thick Russian accent," the Mountie added.

"A lot of people had been coming up and shaking their hands and talking to them and thanking them for coming. They were very happy to be there and show their support."  

The Mountie cannot be identified to protect her safety.

She was the third undercover female RCMP officer to testify at the trial of Anthony Olienick and Chris Carbert.

Olienick and Carbert are charged with conspiring to murder Mounties at the blockade, which paralyzed traffic for two weeks in early 2022 at the Canada-U.S. border crossing to protest COVID-19 rules and vaccine mandates.

The pair were arrested after Mounties raided the area and found a cache of guns, body armour and ammunition in trailers.

The undercover officer, identified in court as HQ1485, echoed testimony from the two earlier operatives that Olienick characterized the blockade as his mission in life and one he was willing to die for.

"He was talking about that he had met up with like-minded people and they had formed a community and they were learning to live off the land and survive if they needed to," she testified.

"He made mention — and this is specific ...'this is the fight against evil.’

"He was talking about how they should all die ... he made like a 'slit his throat' action with his hands."

Another officer earlier testified Olienick referred to police as pawns of “devil” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and that Olienick said if police came to break up the blockade he would “slit their throats.”

The defence has suggested one of the undercover officers may have broken rules by flirting with the accused, sending heart emojis in text messages. That officer testified there was no flirting and that the hearts showed support for the message, not the person.

The officers told court they legally and ethically cannot use seduction to obtain information.

During cross-examination Monday, Olienick's lawyer, Marilyn Burns, asked the third officer if she was bothered by undercover work.

"At what line does the lying end? Is there ever a point where you're uncomfortable?" Burns asked.

"You work to complete an objective and we have specific rules that we follow,” the officer replied.

The defence has noted that the undercover officers did not make audio recordings to substantiate their recollections of what was said with the accused.

The trial judge addressed that with the jury. Justice Dave Labrenz said officers can't secretly record those conversations without prior approval from a judge.

"In this case, the undercover police officers and the police did not have the judicial authorization," Labrenz said.

The officer also testified that the mood of the protest was upbeat.

"Everybody was in a good mood. You were happy to be there. You had a sense of patriotism," she said.

"They had the Canada flag up."


This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 17, 2024. Top Stories

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