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Coutts trio found guilty of mischief for pandemic border blockade

Posted on April 25, 2024 by admin

Southern Alberta Newspapers

A trio of men that were accused of helping lead and facilitate the COVID-19 protest blockade at Coutts, Alta., in 2022 have been found guilty of mischief.

Jurors deliberated for three hours on April 16 before finding Alex Van Herk, Marco Van Huigenbos, and Gerhard (George) Janzen guilty of one count each of mischief over $5,000.

The trio were on trial in Court of King’s Bench for their roles in the blockade that tied up cross-border traffic between Canada and the United States at Coutts for two weeks in early 2022 in protest of COVID-19 rules and restrictions.

The maximum sentence for public mischief over $5000 is 10 years in prison.

According to the Canadian Press, neither Van Huigenbos nor Van Herk intend to appeal their convictions. During the trial officers testified that as the protest dragged on, leadership coalesced around the three accused, and RCMP increasingly turned to them to negotiate.

A pre-sentence report has been ordered for all three men. The case is scheduled to appear again July 22 before a sentencing hearing can be scheduled.

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