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Jurors to hear closing arguments in trial for three men charged after Coutts blockade

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — Closing arguments are scheduled today for three men accused of orchestrating the border shutdown at Coutts, Alta., in early 2022. 

Alex Van Herk, Marco Van Huigenbos, and Gerhard Janzen have pleaded not guilty to a charge of mischief over $5,000. 

The Crown has presented evidence it says proves the trio spearheaded the protest that tied up cross-border traffic between Alberta and Montana for two weeks in early 2022 in a protest of COVID-era rules and restrictions. 

The Crown adds that the case is not about COVID-19 or free speech but simply that people cannot decide on their own to shut down a major transportation portal. 

The defence has argued that the protest group was made up of competing interests and it wasn’t clear who was calling the shots. 

The jury is expected to begin deliberating once it receives instructions from the judge.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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