Sheila Gunn Reid will be providing live tweet updates as court proceeds and Adam Soos will be bringing you regular video updates to keep you informed.
This is the legal battle of a lifetime for Artur, the fundamental battle for his right to worship and serve the poor.
(9:30 AM MT / 11:30 AM ET)
Pastor Art Pawlowski is in court today for a hearing on an contempt application for allegedly breaching the order of Justice Gates that allowed police to enter the church at any time to inspect. Some confusion, since AHS lawyer thought hearing would cover the May 6 Rooke order
(May 6 order was issued in secret against Glen Carritt and Chris Scott and unnamed Jane,John Does prohibited illegal public gatherings -anything of more than five and that didn't confirm to masking/social distancing. Scott, Pastor Stephens and Art were arrested under that order)
Justice Adam Germain is hearing the case. He's been tasked with hearing many of the coronavirus lockdown cases. He's the same judge on the Pastor Stephens case.
Jennifer Jackson is the lawyer acting for AHS. The incredible Sarah Miller from JSS Barristers is acting for Pastor Art. She recently secured victories for two other churches who were also http://FightTheFines.com clients, Full Gospel Outreach in Sask, and Mission7 in Calgary.
Miller states that Pawlowski will not admit to contempt of the Gates order. Jackson is going through evidence.
Jackson is going through her evidence of contempt of the April 23 order. The order allows police and Health inspectors to disrupt religious services to examine for public health infractions. Sect 176.2 of the Canadian criminal code prohibits the disruption of religious services
Jackson says on April 24th, the order was hand delivered to Pawlowski - Jackson says this was before services on a Saturday. Calgary police/AHS were not permitted to enter by Pawlowski. Jackson says they were "disrespectfully denied entry" (Me:I hope their feelings are ok)
(this is a gross misunderstanding of what happens at church. Prayer and worship can happen before and after official services)
"No arrest was made in this case." That's true. Art went to jail on the other order that restrained everyone for holding in a legal public gathering- the Orwellian term the government now uses to describe church services.
Order was served 8:50 am on April 24 Jackson is now stating your previously arguing that inspections were intended to be done in advance of the church services, examining the church during services it was necessary to examine for compliance during services. (Me:pick a lane)
For those of you curious, this contempt hearing is based one of the videos that went viral when Pastor Art cast the government out of his church. Jackson says Health inspectors and police were met with "violent and abusive language". (But no real violence. That's important)
Jackson is done. Miller is taking 5 mins to prep.
Jackson says the April 23 order was hand delivered April 24th at 8:50 a.m. After previously arguing that entry to church was attempted before services, she's now arguing that entering during services is necessary to check for public health order compliance. (Me: pick a lane)
(10:00 AM MT / 12:00 PM ET)
And we're back in court for the contempt hearing for Pastor Art Pawlowski. Sarah Miller is up for Pawlowski.
Miller: there are a few facts that Ms Jackson failed to acknowledge in her submission. AHS went ex parte (in secret) to get the order. AHS claimed safety reasons. "There is no evidence that Mr Pawlowski would cause prejudice to AHS in they have him notice"
On April 23 without notice (AHS) get this order before Justice Gates. Entire interaction with Pulaski and AHS is under 3 mins. Pawlowski repeatedly claims he's trying to read document. Tells officer to come back. To call his lawyer. Wasn't given an opportunity to comply.
Miller is basically saying that from service of the order, to expected compliance, to contempt of the order was 2 minutes and 30 seconds. How could anyone be expected to comply?
Miller: Relevant facts are:
- the order was obtained ex parte (in secret)
- Although AHS/CPS knew where Pawlowski lived, they never served in advance of church on 24th so he could comply
- on 24, they gave him 2.5 mins to comply.
- They never came back to attempt inspection
On April 23 without notice (AHS) get this order before Justice Gates. On 24th, interaction with Pawlowski and AHS is under 3 mins. Pawlowski repeatedly claims he's trying to read document. Tells officer to come back, to call his lawyer. Wasn't given an opportunity to comply
Miller: rules of court give an opportunity to explain reasonable excuse. When AHS shows up with armed police officers with an order, it would take Pawlowski more than two and a half minutes to read the order, understand and comply.
Miller: Mr Pawlowski can do nothing more to purge his contempt. For 2 weeks following this, Pawlowski told congregants to not interfere with AHS. However AHS never came.
(Omg AHS wanted an invitation from Pawlowski to come back to interrupt services and inspect the church. Did they want Art to say: Please come back, Nazi Gestapo, and bother my congregation. I'm sorry. Honestly, what's wrong with these people?)
Miller is done. Germain asking questions. "Do you wish me to rely on your client's affidavit in consideration of this hearing?" Miller: yes
(10:30 AM MT / 12:30 PM ET)
Germain thanks Miller for her professionalism and the quality of her written material. Calls her work an "absolute treat" and a "superb presentation".
Procedural/scheduling wrangling again.
Justice Germain says he's been assigned to handle all of the coronavirus cases re: AHS court orders. He won't be releasing any findings until everyone has had a first hearing.
Decision on this Pawlowski contempt hearing will be made June 28th at 9:30 a.m. Pastor must appear that day. If he is found guilty of contempt, a sanction hearing will be downstream of that date. Court is adjourning until 2:00 for 2nd contempt hearing on the May 6 order
(2:00 PM MT / 4:00 PM ET)
Back in court for Art Pawlowski's on his second contemp hearing. This time for breaching the May 6th secret Alberta Health Services restraining order preventing public gatherings. Illegal public gatherings means holding Church. We've all seen the arrest footage of Art.
Sarah Miller from JSS Barristers is back for Art Pawlowski. John Siddons is on the file for Alberta Health Services. They're dealing with video materials from the Calgary police detective on the day of the alleged contempt.
I should note that this contempt allegation includes both Artur Pawlowski and his brother Dawid. Again, the so called illegal public gathering they attended was church.
Siddons says worship services at the time were limited to just 15 people. CPS evidence shows approximately 85 people. (This order was sought ex parte - in secret- prohibiting even the lawyers of the named individuals to participate in the hearing arguing the necessity of it)
Siddons: May 7 2021 Pawlowski promoted the May 8 gathering in a Facebook video. Siddon just now showing Pastor Art's Facebook page. (This is one day after the secret order was obtained.)
(imagine being the cop trolling through clergyman's Facebook pages because you want to put them in jail for telling people about worship services. Yuck)
Miller objects. She is saying the evidence being shown is different than what was sent to her. Saying it has additional highlighting. (Evidence in question is Pawlowski's Facebook May 8 postings re: the AHS order and police media release of the May 6 order)
Germain is stopping to address Miller's concern about the highlighting added to the exhibits. He's fine with it.
Siddons is pointing out a Facebook video of Pastor Art from the morning of May 8 where he discusses the May 6 order. Ironically, Art can be overheard in the video discussing the unreasonableness of this order, and draws similarities to the treatment of Christians in China.
Pastor Art in the video: "Imagine a law when you can't protest the government"
Moving on now to a video of Dawid Pawloski, who is alleged to have committed contempt for attending an illegal public gathering- church. In the video, police are trying to serve Dawid with a copy of the May 6 order and congregants are shouting them away.
Siddons said Dawid was uncooperative with the police. (We should really be nicer to the police when they show up to interrupt our faith traditions and take our pastors to jail, ok?)
AHS lawyer Siddons is showing a sermon given by Pastor Art about the early Christians' (Paul and Peter) resistance to government tyranny on May 8 as *proof* of his contempt of the May 6 court order. (Me: The irony. I can't even with AHS)
Siddons is done. Moving on to Miller. Miller doesn't need a break. Justice Germain needs one, however, complaining of his knees. Miller wants the court to accept her clients' affidavits accepted as evidence. Will break for 5 mins.
(3:00 PM MT / 5:00 PM ET)
Court is back. Miller says AHS has provided no explanation as to what Justice Rooke (judge who issued the May 6 order) mean't when the order said "every other person acting in concert with them AND with Notice of this order"
Miller: There is evidence that the order was posted in plain sight, that the order was read to him, and that the order was shown to him. (Those are the 3 ways Pastor Art/Dawid can be served notice to be restrained by the order)
Miller: (re: Dawid) Getting a folded up copy of this order in a ziplock baggie left at your feet as the shown in the video does not constitute notice. There's no evidence even what happened with that baggie. No one knows where that baggie is. He did not touch it afterwards.
Miller: Mr Pawlowski saw media announcement of it (the order). That's not knowledge of the order and that's not notice. To find contempt order needs to be clear and any ambiguities are found in favor of the respondent.
Miller: in the circumstances, due to the Charter breaches of section 7, 9 and 10 (of Dawid and Art Pawlowski rights) stemming from the arrest, the contempt proceedings should be stayed.
Miller (paraphrased): in the brief filed before Justice Rooke, AHS never once mentioned the Pawlowskis or congregations or religious services. They never mentioned applying the order to the Pawlowskis even though that's clear what they intended to do from their own evidence.
AHS brief filed before Justice Rooke, the Whistle Stop protest, Glen Carritts family jamboree, Ty Northcott's rodeo, and a campout event (didn't mention worship services. May have prompted their ex parte application to fail but they're using the order to constrain worship now)
Miller: to the extent that the May 6 order is meant to apply writ large to the Alberta population, the order is not clear. Therefore a contempt application based on that must fail.
AHS is relying on evidence provided by an unnamed individual who says they told Art that the May 6 order applied to religious services. Miller argues this is heresay.
Miller: if this court finds that Pawlowski was in contempt of this order, this would be the first time ever a general media announcement is sufficient to find knowledge of the order (that Miller also argues doesn't apply to Pawlowski anyway)
Miller: I have been his counsel since April. I did not receive a copy of this order before his arrest.
Miller: There is no evidence that Dawid Pawlowski had any knowledge of this order anywhere. His knowledge can only be attributed to the little baggie we talked about earlier this afternoon.
Miller: AHS contends that Pawlowski should have sought more information about the order. He also first heard about order on a Friday. Courts closed. (Me: he probably could have had extra info from his lawyer if Alberta Health Services had included her in the process. But go on)
Legal wrangling about case law.
Miller is being asked if her submissions about Charter violations by police should be applied at the time of sanction if the Pawlowskis are found in contempt. Judge is saying it may apply to reduce sanction, if found in contempt.
Charter breaches Miller alleges against Pawlowskis are: too long of a detention, arbitrary detention and no access to council.
Germain: your clients' (Dawid) outrageous conduct of chasing the police out church service... his immediate outburst .....adds an interesting gloss to the facts. (Indicating he didn't pick up the baggie that had the order in it and read it after it was placed at his feet)
Miller is done. Court breaks for 10.
I'm actually outside the Alberta legislature because my next story awaits me as soon as court wraps up at 4:30!
Court is back.
AHS lawyer Siddon is back up.
Court will be adjourned on this hearing to June 28 for a decision. Same day at the decision for the morning's hearing. Pastor and brother must be in attendance that day.
And if Dawid and Art Pawlowski are in contempt, their sanction hearing will be held after that date.
Btw: Sarah Miller volunteered to come up with five pages of "learned arguments" and additional written submissions on Charter violations by end of day Friday.
(What a keener)