Statement on arrest of defence lawyer Caryma Sa’d
On Thursday, May 26, 2022, defence lawyer Caryma Sa’d was arrested outside a rally for Doug Ford, and charged with trespassing under the Trespass to Property Act. For those unfamiliar with Caryma’s work over the last two years, she has been attending political events as an observer, and capturing recordings of the events. Her own take of what happened can be found here:
The Criminal Lawyers’ Association (CLA), together with Women in Canadian Criminal Defence (WICCD), stand behind Caryma. Caryma has a proven history of attending such events in a peaceful manner. We are alarmed that any citizen, let alone a member of our profession, would be treated by police – seemingly on behalf of an elected official – with such disregard for the electoral process and the right to exercise free speech. Both are cornerstones of our democracy. There is a history of similar treatment towards Caryma at other events for the Progressive Conservatives, wherein her attendance was disallowed. That makes it clear that Caryma was disallowed entrance this time again, and ultimately charged, because of a difference of political ideologies – not because she was trespassing. Those who seek public office must remember the will of the people and the right to political dissent. We reject the use of the criminal justice system, a blunt tool, as a method of stifling such dissent.
The fact that Caryma is a woman of colour is also not lost on us. Her treatment on Thursday by state officials is even more fraught with concern, as a result. The chilling effect, both in political engagement and other facets of our society, that this will have on our equity-seeking communities should not be underestimated.