Trespassing charge against Caryma Sa’d after arrest at Ford rally in Hamilton withdrawn

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Published November 8, 2022 at 4:35 pm

Toronto lawyer and activist Caryma Sa'd was arrested at an Ontario PC Party campaign event. (Twitter/@CarymaRules)

Caryma Sa’d is off the hook for trespassing at PC Party of Ontario campaign rally in Hamilton one week before the provincial election in the spring, but the matter might not be put to rest.

The City of Hamilton has withdrawn a charge against the Toronto-based lawyer and political satirist, who was handcuffed at John C. Munro International Airport by Hamioton Police officers outside of a rally where party leader and now-Premier Doug Ford was scheduled to appear on May 26.

Sa’d had registered online to attend the event. Video that she captured shower a security official who was tracking her and telling Sa’d she would not be allowed to enter. He identified himself only as a “PC member” and it appeared he and Sa’d were known to each other from another event. Hamilton Police officers were subsequently called and Sa’d was cuffed and driven off of the premises.

On Tuesday, CBC Hamilton reported that local prosecutors withdrew the charge since there was no “reasonable likelihood of conviction.”

Whether the 5½-months-old incident is resolved might be another story. Sa’d, known for her editorial cartoons and livestreaming at political events where she confronts anti-vaxxers and anti-public health protesters, came there apart from other protesters who were at the airport. They were also told to move.

The CBC Hamilton report mentions that Sa’d lawyer, James Bowie, said arresting officer’s notes do not mention who made the decision that Sa’d was trespassing at the city-owned Hamilton aiport.

Sa’d highlighted that excerpt on Twitter on Tuesday. She has previously mused pursuing further legal avenues, including whether her Charter rights were breached.

Anthony Marco, president of the Hamilton and District Labour Council (HDLC), was among the protesters, with whom Sa’d was not associated. Margo filed a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) about the Hamilton officers’ conduct that night at the airport. About six weeks later, he was informed that OIPRD would not be looking into the matter.

Differing accounts

The versions of events have been reminiscent of Rashomon, although that might not be how anyone would describe it. .

On the night of the arrest, Hamilton Police said initially, “(P)rotesters were asked to move off the roadway. All individuals complied but one individual refused to move and was arrested.”

Sa’d corrected that days later, saying she was not “part of a protest.”

That prompted HPS to issue another statement on May 30 (four days later) that stated, “For greater clarity, the individual was denied entry to a Progressive Conservative Campaign event and was directed to leave the premises by an event representative. She was arrested for failing to comply with that request.”

When OPIRD got back to Marco in July, it said it was “purely speculative” of him to contend that HPS officers acted as agents of a political party.

That said, the extremely online Sa’d has never posted anything to state she has received a definitive answer ascertaining who deemed her to be a trespasser at the Hamilton airport on May 26.

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