The July 31 ruling that condemned Alberta's COVID mandates has forced Crown prosecutors to drop non-violent COVID charges against pastors and small businesses.
On Wednesday, the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) concluded that "there is no longer a reasonable likelihood of conviction in relation to Public Health Act charges involving the contravention of the disputed orders from the Chief Medical Officer of Health."
As first reported by the CBC, two prosecutors confirmed they would invite judges to stay three of those prosecutions next week.
ACPS said they intend to end their pursuit of 14 prosecutions, including the cases of Pastor James Coates, Whistle Stop Café owner Christopher Scott and rodeo organizer Ty Northcott, which remain before the courts.
Prosecutor Karen Thorsrud will not call further evidence in the cases against Coates or his church, Gracelife, and will "invite the court to acquit both defendants of all charges."
Coates initially faced charges in February 2021 for holding church services that violated gathering restrictions, social distancing requirements and mask mandates.
Chris Scott, meanwhile, contravened Alberta's Public Health Act when the Whistle Stop Café remained open during an active ban on in-person dining a month prior.
Prosecutor Peter Mackenzie will invite the court next week to acquit the accused of all charges.
Mackenzie, who also oversaw the Northcott Rodeo prosecution, will pursue a judicial stay after the prosecution convicted Northcott last month for violating the Public Health Act in May 2021.
Rebel News contacted their legal team at the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms but did not receive a response at the time of writing.
However, the Justice Centre wrote to its website that it is "pleased with the results of its efforts" dating back to 2020.
"Thanks to this court ruling, Crown prosecutors are no longer continuing to prosecute other Albertans assisted by the Justice Centre since 2020, including Pastor James Coates, Pastor Timothy Stephens, and Ty Northcott for his ‘No More Lockdowns’ rodeo rally,” the statement reads.
"We are grateful to these courageous individuals, who stood up against unreasonable and utterly unscientific measures that took away our fundamental rights and freedoms for lengthy periods of time," said lawyer John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre.
Justice Barbara Romaine invalidated the province's health orders because they breached the Public Health Act owing to an improper decision-making framework.
Her 90-page ruling concluded that the final decision-making power rested solely within cabinet and elected-member committees — impermissible under the act, thereby nullifying any legal standing for the "justified" measures.
"Although Dr. Deena Hinshaw was maligned during the pandemic and afterwards as the symbol of the restrictions, she was not, in fact, the final decision-maker," wrote Romaine.
According to the Justice Centre, the Ingram v. Alberta ruling — named after gym owner Rebecca Ingram — struck down the measures, concluding their efforts to vilify Alberta's lockdown measures because they repeatedly violated freedoms of association, expression, conscience, religion, and peaceful assembly.
The court action began in December 2020 when the plaintiffs, including Ingram, filed a lawsuit arguing the COVID restrictions and mandates unlawfully breached Charter rights.
While the Alberta government conceded that some mandates and restrictions had violated Charter rights, Romaine found others did not.
The judge ruled that no rights had been violated, even if the province exercised a proper decision-making framework. She concluded the unprecedented public health emergency rendered the infringements "demonstrably justified" under the Charter.