The judge summed the case up by saying, ”Based on the evidence before me, the best we have is jerry cans in a wagon 10 feet away with dozens of people milling about.”

Police case against man accused of refilling jerry cans at convoy protest fizzles in court.
Allen Remley was accused by police of mischief for aiding and abetting the convoy protest.

The Ottawa police investigation of a kid’s wagon filled with jerry cans to fuel the convoy protest has fizzled in court after the accused was acquitted on all charges of mischief and police obstruction.

Allen Remley, defended by Jim Karahalios, didn’t call any evidence but was acquitted just the same.

A decision by Ontario Court Justice Heather Perkins-McVey found that the Crown failed to prove its case. The judge noted the investigating officer took crummy notes and that Remley, a grandfather known by some for his charity work in Africa, was not afforded his right to legal counsel.

Days after Ottawa Police began stealing fuel cans from truckers, trying to refuel their trucks to stay warm, a Jerry Can Protest erupts – with hundreds of Canadians carrying empty Jerry Cans through Ottawa streets.

Const. Jonathan Kenney was dispatched to investigate the little red wagon around 11 a.m. on the same day. The Ottawa police officer was responding to the call in a rented minivan because the city police department didn’t have any available cruisers.

On Feb. 12, 2022, there were still no orders for protesters to leave as the Emergencies Act wasn’t triggered until days later.

The trial revealed plenty of details about the protest, including that police actually directed the truckers to Wellington, only to have it later blocked. (The street is still blocked to traffic.) Kenney testified that Nepean Street was still open for travel and that Bank Street was surprisingly open. Sgt. Louis Carvalho testified that convoy trucks were directed by Ottawa police to Wellington.

When Kenney testified at trial, he initially said he saw jerry cans on a kid’s wagon near Remley’s truck, but couldn’t say exactly where. He later testified the little red wagon was about 10 feet away from the accused’s truck.

The constable said there were no horns blasting, but he could hear the sound of generators and truck engines. He never actually saw the grandfather refilling any jerry cans and described Remley as cordial, polite and pleasantly defiant.

The police investigation about the little red wagon was deemed so dangerous that Ottawa police officers retreated because they were outnumbered and surrounded, with bystanders telling Kenney to leave the grandfather alone. They yelled out that he was a patriot.

Kenney also told court that Remley never incited the crowd or interacted with them in any way. Still, the officer asked for Remley’s driver’s licence. He told court he had to abandon his investigation because they were outnumbered by people who he said didn’t appear to be leaving any time soon.

“The investigation was not worth it,” the officer testified.

He didn’t want to be a “powder keg” so he retreated and told Remley that he would face mischief charges down the road.

The officer was asked in court what grounds he had to ask for the accused’s licence. The officer answered, “Hmmm, now I’m not sure I had authority. … At the time, I thought I had authority under the Highway Traffic Act, but now I think I didn’t. I asked for the identification to continue my investigation. It was an error on my part.”

The officer also recalled telling the grandfather: “You came here a free man and you leave as a criminal.”

However, the grandfather has won his case.

The judge said that while Kenney was an honest, credible witness, he wasn’t that reliable.

The officer told court that he never gave Remley the right to counsel and never ordered him to leave, but rather asked him to consider leaving.

The officer testified his notes were “not great.” He also admitted in the circumstantial case adopted by the Crown that he didn’t know what liquid was, if any, in any jerry cans and certainly didn’t see Remley filling any of them up.

Speaking about the acquittal on obstruction of police, Perkins-McVey said there was no evidence whatsoever that Remley made it more difficult for the officer to do his job. The judge also noted that Remley didn’t incite the crowd.

The judge summed the case up by saying, ”Based on the evidence before me, the best we have is jerry cans in a wagon 10 feet away with dozens of people milling about.”

Remley expressed relief.

“Mr. Remley was relieved to see the court give the correct decision and he hopes it will help others in similar situations. He hasn’t had much time to move on as the Crown has since appealed the acquittal,” his lawyer Karahalios said.

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