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Bail review for convoy organizer Pat King abruptly adjourned

Ottawa convoy organizer Pat King's bail review hearing came to an abrupt and unexpected stop after only a few hours Wednesday.
Police hang off a truck as authorities work to end a protest against COVID-19 measures that had grown into a broader anti-government demonstration and occupation lasting for weeks, in Ottawa, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. Ontario Superior Court began hearing arguments to release Ottawa convoy organizer Pat King on bail after his lawyer requested a review of the initial decision to keep him in jail until his trial.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Ottawa convoy organizer Pat King's bail review hearing came to an abrupt and unexpected stop after only a few hours Wednesday. 

The Ontario Superior Court was hearing evidence about whether or not to release King on bail after his lawyer requested a review of the court's initial decision to keep him in jail until his trial. 

The details of these latest proceedings are subject to a publication ban and cannot be shared outside of court.

Justice Graeme Mew also banned any publication about the reason for the sudden adjournment, at least until court resumes on Thursday.

King was a key figure in the three-week protest against COVID-19 restrictions and the federal government that swarmed Ottawa's downtown with large trucks, blocking streets and blaring loud horns at all hours.

He faces 10 charges related to his involvement, including mischief, intimidation, obstructing police and disobeying a court order.

King was denied bail on Feb. 25. 

On Wednesday, he appeared freshly shaved, in jeans, a grey flannel shirt and tan vest with his hair in a neat braid. 

The hearing was initially expected to last two days. 

Ontario MPP Randy Hillier announced Wednesday he also intends to take his case to Superior Court to challenge the conditions of his bail related to the protest.

Hillier, an Independent member of the provincial legislature, was released from jail but still faces nine charges, including obstructing or resisting a public officer, assaulting a peace or public officer and counselling an indictable office.

One of the conditions of his release is that he abstain from opposing COVID-19 mandates on social media or supporting anti-mandate causes. He's also banned from downtown Ottawa except to meet his counsel. 

His lawyer, David Anber, argued the conditions are at odds with his duties as an MPP. 

Anber announced on Twitter that the Superior Court of Ontario will hear Hillier's challenge on April 28.

Another convoy organizer, Tamara Lich, has also announced her intention to challenge the condition of her bail that bans her from using social media. 

King's supporters appear to be chipping in to help fund any bond that may be required for his potential release.

People claiming to be King's friends and family have continued to operate his Facebook page, The Real Pat King, while he has been in custody.

The operators of the fund have solicited donations from supporters to fund his legal defence.

"Pat King requires our support from his friends and family to help cover his legal expenses so he can seek a release on bail then begin to prepare for his trial. The amount to cover the bail review and trial is estimated to exceed over $100,000," a post from March 18 stated. 

The page claims to have raised $62,400, though it cannot be verified as the donations were made by e-transfer directly to a private email address. 

The protest in Ottawa made international headlines in February when businesses were forced to close their doors for weeks amid what officials called a "state of lawlessness" downtown.

The federal government invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in an effort to dislodge the protesters. It allowed financial institutions to freeze bank accounts of those involved and granted police extraordinary powers to remove people from the parliamentary precinct.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2022.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press