Saint John pastor Phil Hutchings was released from jail after his court date Friday. His release was conditional upon him agreeing to abide by a number of conditions imposed by the court, which included a promise to abide by all of the province's COVID-19 public health protocols.
Pastor Phil, of His Tabernacle Family Church, spent seven days in jail for defying a court order to follow the province's COVID-19 protocols at his church.
Previously, His Tabernacle associate Pastor Cody Butler was arrested during church services on Thanksgiving Sunday. The church was subsequently ordered to close the next day.
The church had been under strict surveillance by authorities, and services were previously disrupted when police and safety officials entered the church to gather evidence.
Hutchings had also posted a video and images to his personal Facebook page showing police repeatedly visiting his home.
I was there on scene to report on Pastor Phil's court appearance, but unfortunately the sheriff refused to let me in the courthouse — because apparently, Rebel News is not real media — even though a federal court has twice ruled that we are. I reported from outside the courthouse all the same, and was there for the moment that Pastor Phil walked out as a (sort of) free man.