EDMONTON: The Justice Centre is very disappointed to announce that Justice Peter Michalyshyn of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton has ruled that Pastor James Coates of Grace Life Church must remain in jail for the next eight weeks pending his trial, unless he agrees to abide by health orders that violate his Charter freedoms of conscience, religion, expression, association and peaceful assembly.
Pastor Coates has been in custody at the Edmonton Remand Centre since February 16, after he refused to sign a bail condition to comply with provincial health orders that violate his Charter freedoms of conscience, religion, expression, association and peaceful assembly.
The Justice Centre filed an appeal in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, to seek the release of Pastor Coates from jail prior to a trial date set for May 3-5, 2021, in Alberta Provincial Court in Stony Plain. The Justice Centre represents Pastor Coates and Grace Life Church, a large church just west of Edmonton. Alberta Health Services (AHS) ticketed Pastor Coates, taken Grace Life and Pastor Coates to court, and even attempted to completely shut the Church down. Background information on Pastor Coates’ ordeal is available here.
“A trial set eight weeks down the road was too long for an innocent Pastor to be in jail. Pastor Coates is a peaceful Christian minister. He should never have been required to violate his conscience and effectively stop pastoring his church as a condition to be released. In every way this was a violation of Pastor Coates’ Charter rights and freedoms,” states lawyer John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre.
“Charter freedoms do not disappear because the government declares regular church services to be outlawed while allowing hundreds of people to fill their local Walmarts,” notes Carpay.