Multiple charges against His Tabernacle Family Church and its pastor, Phil Hutchings, have been dropped by Crown prosecutors.
His Tabernacle made headlines in late 2021 after Hutchings opened his place of worship in spite of local COVID-19 restrictions in Saint John, New Brunswick. In Oct. 2021, Rebel News reported police entered His Tabernacle, arrested its associate pastor and subsequently closed the church for non-compliance with public health restrictions.
After refusing to enforce these restrictions on his congregants, Hutchings was also arrested last October. At the time, Rebel News detailed how Hutchings was compelled to sign a document forcing his church to adhere to COVID restrictions.
In June, New Brunswick Court of Appeal sided with Hutchings after his lawyer argued the judge hearing the case should have recused himself.
While three pandemic-related tickets against Hutchings were withdrawn earlier this month, the pastor received more good news on Nov. 17, as his legal representatives at The Democracy Fund announced prosecutors had dropped obstruction and breaching public health order charges against him.
Jonathan Martin, Hutchings legal representation retained by The Democracy Fund, argued in a constitutional challenge this year that public health orders were inconsistent with the fundamental rights and freedoms granted by Canada's Charter.
Hutchings still faces a contempt charge stemming from allegations he unlawfully held church services in an indoor public space in November 2021. Hutchings next hearing, this time regarding a summary dismissal of the contempt charge, is scheduled for Dec. 20.
To support Pastor Phil Hutchings in his ongoing legal fight, donations can be made to the The Democracy Fund, a registered Canadian charity, at SavePastorPhil.com.