Whistle Stop Cafe owner's contempt hearing for organizing protest
Thursday, in a virtual courtroom in Alberta provincial court, the Whistle Stop Cafe owner Chris Scott was fighting a contempt allegation against him in front of Justice Adam Germain.
Scott was arrested on May 8 for breaching a May 6 restraining order that was obtained in secret by Alberta Health Services preventing him, Glen Carritt, and unnamed Jane and John Doe's from attending, organizing or promoting “illegal gatherings” — events which have been described as any gathering in public or private that does not conform to the ever-changing public health orders.
The order, issued by Justice Rooke in Calgary, was obtained without notification of Scott's lawyer, nor was the court notified by Alberta Health Services that Chris Scott was represented by a lawyer.
Scott's lawyer, Chad Williamson, told the court the first time he was notified about the May 6 order was after it was granted in an email time stamped 6:21 p.m. on the same day.
Williamson argued that the failure to notify him breached the fundamentals of justice and fairness as well as Scott's Charter right to access legal counsel. Alberta Health Services has been aware since February that Williamson has been representing Scott.
On May 8, Scott held a protest against the lockdown restrictions in Alberta attended by approximately 1,500 people.
In January, Scott reopened his restaurant in Mirror, Alberta in defiance of the lockdown restrictions and has received a series of summonses prior to the May 6 order. After his arrest, he was held in custody for three days for contempt of court.
Rebel News is helping Chris Scott fight for his right to be an entrepreneur through our civil liberties project www.FightTheFines.com, where we put top civil litigators in touch with everyday Canadians who have received lockdown tickets to fight their fines in court at no cost to them.
Justice Adam Germain is reserving his decision on the allegation of contempt until June 28.
We couldn't help Chris Scott without the support of our Rebel viewers.
If you'd like to help offset the legal costs to help approximately 1,200 entrepreneurs, pastors, business owners, and normal people from all walks of life fight their lockdown tickets in court, donate today at www.FightTheFines.com. thank you to those who have donated and to continue to donate to keep Canada just a little more free during these government attacks on civil liberties.
Donations to Fight The Fines now qualify for a charitable tax receipt through a registered Canadian charity, The Democracy Fund.
Live tweets as the hearing happened:
1:55PM MT / 3:55PM ET
Court starts at 2 pm in the contempt hearing of Chris Scott, the owner of the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror Alberta who was arrested for contempt of an Alberta Health Services court order preventing "illegal public gatherings". Scott held a 1500 person protest against the lockdown
After his arrest, Chris was held for 3 days in jail for the crime of protesting the lockdown and refusing to go broke. In the same week, his restaurant was chained closed, confiscated because he refused to close it. You can help with his legals at fightthefines.com
Rebel News hired Chad Williamson from Williamson law to help Chris Scott fight the full force of the Alberta Government in court. This is an absolute David and Goliath battle and thank you to everyone who has donated at http://fightthefines.com. We couldn't help without you.
Justice Adam Germain is hearing the contempt hearing. He's also heard the Pastor Tim Stephens contempt case as well as the Pastor Art Pawlowski contempt case (he was held for 2 days for holding church).
For context, Scott was held on the May 6th order of Justice Rooke in Calgary. Health Services went ex parte (in secret) and received an order of preventing the organization of, attendance at, or the promotion of illegal public gatherings. It outlawed protest against the govt.
Ashley McClelland is the lawyer for AHS. She's here to argue that it was justified to hold a man for 3 days for exercising his Charter rights to free assembly and speech.Chris Scott reopened his restaurant in defiance of the lockdown in January and immediately came under surveillance by the local RCMP and Alberta Health Services. He's received several fines and summonses, court orders against him, and eventually jailed on one of those orders.Here we go. AHS lawyer starts laying out the allegations against Scott. She alleges that on May 8 2021, the respondent breached the May 6 order by organizing, promoting and attending an in-person gathering that did not conform to public health orders.To conform to the public health order Chris Scott's 1500 person event would have to be no larger than 5 people and everyone would have to social distance. Scott does not admit to contempt.AHS is detailing affidavit by an RCMP officer who watched the 1500 person anti-lockdown protest via Chris Scott's Facebook live feed. Cop observed Chris taking the stage and rallying the crowd. Scott was arrested later than night.An RCMP commander swore an affidavit that he personally served Chris Scott with the May 6 order on May 8. Attached to that affidavit were photographs of the crowd.A small town diner owner could not stand a chance against the entire government. That's why we've been helping Chris Scott through http://FightTheFines.com. Your donations there now qualify for a charitable tax receipt through the registered Canadian charity, The Democracy fundAudio just went down for Chad Williamson.AHS lawyer is showing images of posters captured from the Whistle Stop cafe's website promoting the May 8th protestAHS is entering video evidence of the speeches from the protest and body cam evidence of the crowd size.AHS lawyer is showing evidence that Chris Scott encouraged people to "show up and stand up" to the lockdown as evidence of his crime of protesting the govt in contravention of the May 6 restraining order. (I can't even believe I'm writing these sentences. What country is this?)AHS acknowledges that in the speeches given by Chris Scott, he advises people to not break the law and be respectful to the RCMP who were on location of the protest.AHS accidentally admits that the purpose of the court order of May 6th in front of Justice Rooke was to prevent the event hosted by Chris Scott from going ahead on May 8th. They wanted him to cancel the event.(by the way, I've not heard of a single covid case associated with that 1500 person strong protest that was held at the Whistle Stop on May 8th. So what are these people protecting us from?)AHS is done. Williamson is up next for Scott.Williamson: we have made a procedural argument against the order before Justice Rooke. (AHS has failed in their duty to advise the court that Chris had a lawyer when they sought the May 6 order.)Williamson: You have it in your discretion today to decline to find our client in contempt of this order. (While they wait appeal of the May 6 order under which Chris was arrest)
Williamson calls the actions of the government odious, that they violate the fundamental principles of Justice. "The right to counsel and the duty to inform the court is laid out in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."
Williamson is letting the government have it, saying the ex parte order draws into disrepute the administration of justice. Arguing that the government's behavior in seeking that May 6 order in secret will lead to an unfettered state that can treat citizens however it wishesWilliamson is now arguing that the behavior of the government was so egregious, denying Chris Scott the ability to have his counsel represent him by not informing the court of counsel, that the judge has it in his discretion to toss out the contempt to charge all together.
Williamson is currently citing case law that lays out how the government was required to notify the court of presence of counsel for Chris Scott. "The fundamental and sacrosanct duty to inform the court of counsel" was violated.Williamson and his team are arguing that the ex parte court order caused Chris Scott harm and treated him unfairly (denied his access to council), and then the state used that harmful and unfair order to incarcerate him.Williamson is now testifying that he has been dealing with the exact AHS lawyer arguing the case today since at least February, and she is the same lawyer who sought the May 6 order. Yet she failed to inform him of the order she was seeking before she got it.The first time Williamson learned of the May 6th order was at 6:21 in the evening after the order was granted by the judge. (How can he defend his client from an order he didn't know the govt was seeking) Williamson said he moved at lightning speed to obtain a hearing on May 7The AHS lawyer is objecting to Williamson pointing out that he's been dealing with her for months but she failed to inform him of the May 6th order when she was seeking it.Not only did AHS not inform Chris Scott's lawyer that they were seeking an order against him, AHS never informed the court that Chris Scott had a lawyer, so that the presiding judge could weigh that information. (The govt withheld info from the judge to get a court order)Williamson produced email receipts.This is kind of weird because Williamson brought in a second lawyer to help because it's almost as the Williamson is a witness in this hearing to the government's sneakiness in getting that May 6th secret order.Judge Germain is going to reserve his ruling for June 28. 10 am. Judge insists that Scott must remain bound by conditions and be present on June 28. If he is found in contempt that day, he will receive sanctions downstream of that hearing.Germain thanks Williamson for making the afternoon interesting and presenting his arguments in a positive yet forceful way on behalf of his client. Yeah. I'd say.
- By Ezra Levant
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