Pastor James Coates received a judge's decision this morning, June 7, on the Charter arguments made by his lawyers from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, Leighton Grey and James Kitchen. A provincial judge in Alberta has deemed that Pastor James Coates' Charter rights were not violated by the public health orders placed on religious gatherings.
Sheila Gunn Reid provides a recap of the decision in the video above.
You can review our live coverage of the pastor's hearing by clicking below:
May 3, 2021: Pastor James Coates on trial for violating public health orders
May 4, 2021: Pastor James Coates on trial for violating public health orders
Here's what our reporter Sheila Gunn Reid has to say on this breaking news.
(10:21 am ET / 8:21 am MT)
Pastor James Coates will receive a judge's decision on Charter arguments made by his lawyers from the JCCF, Leighton Grey and James Kitchen. I'll be live tweeting proceedings at 930 MST
(12:10 pm ET / 10:10 am MT)
The prosecutor in the Coates case continues to remain anonymous in court hearings. She's not a victim and she's not prosecuting the mob. She's prosecuting a pastor for not turning away congregants My guess: She's ashamed of herself. She should be.
Hearing for judge's decision in the case of James Coates charter arguments is over an hour and fifteen minutes late to start. They've given out the wrong WebEx link twice. Lawyers don't have video feed access yet. It's mass confusion. What a joke
I'm only speculating, but I think this mass confusion and limiting journalists and observers of the Coates hearing to just audio, coupled with the musical chairs of rotating video links, are all because the crown prosecutor doesn't want anyone to know her name or see her face.
You don't get to tell people how to worship. There are different churches and different denominations because there are different interpretations of the same Bible government doesn't get to choose which interpretation is right. It's literally the purpose of freedom of religion
(12:55 pm ET / 10:55 am MT)
Judge Robert Shaigec is the judge on the file.
Crown prosecutor Karen Thorsrud remains anonymous wi Judge Shaigec identifying her simply as the "public health prosecutor". Pastor Coates is listening via tele-link
"It is admitted by Pastor Coates that he committed the offense charged (Dec 20 unrestricted in person church attendance)"
"Coates deeply held religious convictions...." "Sunday worship is a matter of obedience to Christ." "He defied the law because he felt compelled to comply with God" "He became convinced that the government's response to covid-19 was an overreaction"
"freedom of religion is subject to such limitations that are necessary to protect public safety...health or morals...."
"I accept the sincerity of Pastor Coates' religious convictions. "
"The constitutionality of the 15% capacity law will be determined later in this trial" "However, did the enforcement of the law violate his religious freedom" "The answer is no" (There you have it)
"Section 176 does not dig a moat around places of worship to prevent enforcement of laws"
Shaigec now ruling that freedom of expression was not violated by limiting the method of worship.
Judgement is handed down. Bad news all around. Written judgement will be available later. Moving into scheduling for the next phase of the trial.
Video update coming soon. I hope the Alberta Justice Minister wrestles with his conscience after today. He sent two lawyers to fight James Coates.