Watford man pleads guilty to mischief for Lambton Freedom Convoy protest

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This quarry truck was part of a 40 vehicle convoy through Lambton Feb. 19. It made its way through Petrolia on the way back to the Warwick Township farm where protesters held up during a six day blockade of Highway 402. The driver of the quarry truck plead guilty to mischief over $5,000.

Steve Verberne is the only person charged in the local protest

The only person charged during the Freedom Convoy protest in Lambton County has plead guilty to mischief.

Steve Verberne of Watford was charged Feb. 19 with mischief,┬áprohibited driving under the Criminal Code, and five Highway Traffic Act infractions a week after the blockade of Highway 402 near Forest ended. The organizers of the local movement against vaccine mandates had continued the pandemic protest with what was called ‘slow rolls’ on the roads in Lambton County.

Verberne, court heard Tuesday, was prohibited from driving a vehicle without a an ignition interlock device. The rock truck used in quarry work which Verberne was driving when he turned off Forest Road and onto Egremont Drive where protesters were gathering wasn’t equipped with one.

Verberne – who told police he had been involved in both the blockade of the Bluewater Bridge and the six day protest on Highway 402 – plead guilty to mischief and according to court documents was ordered to be involved in 150 hours community service, assessed a $2,600 fine and was placed on two years probation.

Recent minutes from the Lambton Group Police Services Board show the police response to the Freedom Convoy in this county required 96 officers.

Warwick Township is now repairing Zion Line, which was the detour route when the 402 was blocked. Engineers say the heavy traffic using the road during the demonstration damaged the road and leading to $160,000 in additional costs to what was supposed to be a $270,000 project.