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Defence suggests some of the guns seized from Coutts border blockade used for hunting

A defence lawyer for one of two men accused of conspiracy to commit murder at the border blockade at Coutts, Alta., has suggested some of the guns seized by police were rifles used for hunting small game.

Katherin Beyak made the comment Wednesday during cross-examination of an RCMP firearms expert.

Her client, Chris Carbert, and his co-accused, Anthony Olienick, were arrested in 2022, after police seized a cache of weapons, ammunition and body armour from trailers near the blockade.

Beyak said some of the weapons were small calibre rifles that fire the same ammunition. She produced a chart listing bullets and said the rifles would normally be used for hunting small game.

The chart, shown to the jury, showed possible targets for various sizes of bullets, from small animals to deer, grizzly bears and moose.

“I’m going to suggest to you that different calibres of cartridge are used for carrying out different purposes,” said Beyak.

“Yes,” replied firearms expert Bryan Hui.

“For example what this chart would seem to suggest is that .22- and .223-calibre ammunition is generally for either small game or varmints,” she said.

“I can’t say hunting is my expertise but that is what’s depicted on the charts,” Hui said.

Hui testified that among the seized weapons was a prohibited semi-automatic AR-15 rifle and several restricted .45-calibre semi-automatic handguns.

He said one of the largest weapons was a Remington 700 bolt-action rifle, which uses .338-calibre Lapua Magnum ammunition.

“Generally speaking … it’s a relatively larger type of calibre in comparison to what I normally see in hunting rifles,” Hui said. “With the larger calibre, you typically have the ability to fire at a larger range.”

The blockade tied up traffic for two weeks at the busy Canada-U.S. border crossing in a protest of COVID-19 measures and vaccine mandates.

Undercover officers, posing as volunteers at the blockade, previously testified that Olienick said he believed Mounties were the tools of “devil” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and deserved to be hanged.

The officers told the court that Olienick said if police raided the blockade, he would “slit their throats.”

The trial has also seen text messages from Carbert warning his mother of war, saying he’s prepared to die.

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