Canadian pastor to remain in jail until May for violating COVID-19 restrictions
The Christian Post reports that a church pastor arrested last month and charged for violating COVID-19 rules on maximum gathering capacity will remain behind bars until the trial begins in early May, a Canadian judge has ruled.
The Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Peter Michalyshyn ruled that Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church must remain in jail until his trial, scheduled to take place from the 3rd to the 5th of May, in Alberta Provincial Court in Stony Plain.
Pastor Coates was detained at the Edmonton Remand Centre on the 16th of February. He refused to agree to bail conditions that he does not attend or conduct services at GraceLife Church unless they comply with government guidelines requiring capacity limits and social distancing.
Lawyers at the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which represents Coates and GraceLife Church, argue that the bail conditions and health orders “violate his Charter freedoms of conscience, religion, expression, association and peaceful assembly.”
However, the judge ruled there were no legal errors in last month’s decision to release Coates on the condition he complies with public health rules.