CHATHAM, ON: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is pleased to announce that charges against Pastor Henry Hildebrandt, for allegedly attending a protest in Chatham, have been withdrawn at the request of the Crown Prosecutor.
Pastor Hildebrandt allegedly attended an anti-lockdown protest on April 26, 2021. At the time, Ontario had instituted its most draconian pandemic management scheme by banning virtually any form of outdoor gathering. About 200 people attended the April 26 protest. Pastor Hildebrandt was alleged to have attended and to have spoken to the Crowd.
At a pre-trial conference, counsel for Pastor Hildebrandt noted the significant evidentiary gaps required to prove Pastor Hildebrandt was in attendance. The officer who observed the protest left midway through and watched the rest of the event on a livestream available on the internet. The Crown was unable to produce the livestream video evidence. Without this evidence and a witness who did not observe Pastor Hildebrandt at the event, the Crown withdrew the charge on the ground that there was no reasonable chance of conviction.
Former Ontario MPP, Randy Hillier, was also alleged to have attended this protest. His charge in Chatham, and similar charges in other jurisdictions, remain outstanding. Mr. Hillier has launched a Charter challenge against the regulations that banned all outdoor protests and will argue that they were an unjustifiable infringement of his rights. The hearing in that case is set for July 27-28, 2023.
Christopher Fleury, counsel for Pastor Hildebrandt, stated that: “While it is unfortunate that it took two years to get to this point, this is an excellent outcome for Pastor Hildebrandt. My client and I are very pleased the prosecution finally made a realistic assessment of the strength of its case.”