Randy Hillier’s application to have his convictions set aside and deemed unconstitutional was denied, but that didn’t stop him from vowing to “kill this evil monster the legal system.”
In a video on Hillier’s X (formerly Twitter) account on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, the controversial former Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MPP appears to be on the steps of the Ottawa Courthouse, where he is being interviewed by someone he identifies as “Jason” and calls a “fine independent media individual.” Hillier states he has just come from a judicial pretrial hearing; the date given is November 30, 2023.
Hillier’s decision to represent himself in his ongoing legal battle (against several charges stemming from his actions at gatherings during the pandemic lockdown and participation in the 2022 “Freedom Convoy” protests in Ottawa) was made public during a virtual court hearing on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, with Justice Julianne Parfett presiding.
In the video and a written post on X, Hillier accused the “Ottawa Crown Attorney” of pulling “out his dirty tricks playbook” at the November 30 hearing. He also said the hearing’s “real purpose is for the Crown to stack the deck against the accused.”
Hillier then went on to describe what he said “occurred after the judge cleared the courtroom and Zoom hearing of interested spectators and supporters.”
He accused the Crown of allowing “their falsehoods and lies to be published at my bail hearing” and said the Crown is “trying to stop the actual facts that refute their falsehoods from being published” because, according to him, the Crown requested a publication ban on the evidence.
He also took umbrage at the judge for apparently refusing his request to audio record the proceedings; Hillier claimed recordings are needed to accommodate his “hearing loss disability.”
Further, he claimed that, because he is self-representing, “the Crown refuses (and the judge concurred) to negotiate or discuss the case with me outside of the courtroom, adding even more delays. The Crown has requested that an additional judge be appointed to be a ‘case management’ judge.”
He also stated that “the judge has now requested that the court begin finding time to schedule the actual trial in 2025, and into the fourth year after the alleged crime of mischief.”
According to Hillier, “The Crown’s interests are predatory: to prevent me from informing the public of their actions… tarnish my reputation while preventing me to refute their falsehoods… make the process as costly as they can in their attempt to make me plead out. To grow the legal machine and monster so that it may prey on more people.”
The video ends with Hillier thanking the audience “for tuning in” and asking them to send money to the interview team. The interviewer in turn asks viewers to “send [their] money to Randy and the other defendants who are facing this stupid shit.”
Hillier agrees, saying, “There are so many people who are feeling this burden, and we got to… help them out and kill this evil monster that is called the legal system.”
All of this comes after a judgment released on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023, in which Justice John Callaghan denied Hillier’s application to have his charges declared unconstitutional. Hillier challenged Ontario’s COVID-19 gathering restrictions as unconstitutional after he was charged with violating those restrictions in spring 2021, when he attended protest rallies objecting to the restrictions.
In hearings on July 27 and 28, 2023 and in supplementary submissions on September 12 and November 13, 2023, Hillier asserted that the gathering restrictions violated his right to peaceful assembly under Section 2(c) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Further, he asserted that the violation cannot be justified under Section 1 of the Charter: “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”
However, the Judge disagreed and wrote in the decision, “By the third wave [of COVID-19] in the spring of 2021, Ontario’s health care system was in a precarious position… If drastic action was not taken to confront the transmission of the virus, it was feared that the health care system, particularly the hospital network, would collapse under the strain of yet more COVID-19 patients. In response, the province introduced a strict stay-at-home order and Gathering Restrictions to prevent not only illness and death but the collapse of Ontario’s fragile hospital network.”
The restrictions, he writes, “prevented people from gathering outside familial groupings, with some exceptions, for much of the period of early April to early June 2021. It was at this time that Mr. Hillier, then a Member of the Provincial Parliament, attended rallies in various parts of the province voicing his objection to these restrictions. The rallies were political protests attended by groups who wanted the government to lift the restrictions.”
As a result, Hillier was charged with several counts of violating the gathering restrictions, and the judge writes, “Ontario concedes that the Gathering Restrictions infringed [Section] 2(c) of the Charter. The debate is whether those limits are justified under [Section] 1 of the Charter.”
Callaghan notes that there have already been several cases, including at the appeal level, which have examined whether legislated COVID-19 restrictions violated Charter rights and whether such restrictions were justified under Section 1 of the Charter. In each case, the courts deemed the infringements justified.
After a thorough analysis of the evidence and case law, which can be seen here, the judge dismissed Hillier’s application.
Hillier’s judicial pretrial in Ottawa resumes Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023.
Readers will recall that this is not at all Hillier’s first legal issue or issue in the public court of opinion regarding COVID-19; after the former Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) was ousted from the Ontario Conservative Party in February 2019, Hillier found himself in hot water repeatedly during the COVID-19 pandemic. He faced backlash from municipal, provincial, and federal representatives — as well as members of the public — after comparing Ontario’s Public Health measures to Hitler; was removed from the then-social media platform Twitter more than once, and faced the ire of grieving family members after falsely claiming their deceased loved ones had been injured or killed by COVID-19 vaccinations — all before flagrantly thumbing his nose at pandemic-related restrictions, which led to further outrage, as well as charges for breaching the Re-Opening Ontario Act and his participation in the so-called “Freedom Convoy” and occupation of Ottawa in early 2022. Most recently, occurring before the November and December 2023 developments, Hillier had some charges against him dropped by the Crown in September 2022.