The Justice Center revealed that the organization has negotiated the release of Pastor James Coates from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada who has been in jail for several weeks since his arrest for allegedly breaking the province’s COVID lockdown.
James pastors GraceLife Church in Spruce Grove, Alberta a community just outside of Edmonton, Alberta. He has been in Jail since February 16, 2021 after defying the province’s lockdown. His trial date has been set for early May, but he has not been allowed out on bail because the Pastor Coates refused to abide by bail conditions that would have restricted his ability to attend church services.
The Justice Centre reports:
‘The agreement was negotiated to get Pastor Coates out of jail without having to make a promise for him to abide by unscientific and unconstitutional health orders that violate his freedom of conscience, religion, association, and peaceful assembly.’
LifeSite News provides more of the details:
CALGARY, Alberta, March 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Lawyers for Canadian Pastor James Coates said that it was through back-and-forth negotiations with the Crown prosecutor that an agreement was made to get him out of jail, without him having to promise to abide by “unscientific and unconstitutional health orders” which “violate” his freedom of conscience and religion.
Coates had been in jail for several weeks after opening his church to more worshipers than the Alberta provincial government allowed.
“Our team of lawyers was in discussions with the Crown prosecutor’s office and several of the lawyers on our team have extensive criminal law experience, which, you know, a year ago may not have been as relevant, it’s certainly extremely helpful today with the way the circumstances are turning out,” said John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.
The Justice Center is arguing that the limits place on in person services in Alberta are a violation of the constitution because there is no scientific basis for the lockdowns.
Meanwhile, in British Columbia, Canada a judge has ruled that the banning or limiting of in-person church services is a “a justifiable violation of rights, even though they infringe upon freedom of religion.” READ: Restrictions on in-person church services are justifiable violation of freedom of religion: B.C. court