GODERICH, ON: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is pleased to announce that charges against Richard and Valerie Bostock were withdrawn at the request of the Crown Prosecutor in Goderich on June 6, 2023. In May 2021, the Bostock’s were ticketed for peacefully protesting Ontario’s lockdown restrictions and were each issued a $880.00 fine.
Mr. and Mrs. Bostock protested Ontario’s lockdown measures on May 8, 2021, in front of Courthouse Square in Goderich. At that time, a third provincial lockdown had been implemented by the Ontario government. A “Stay-at-Home” Order was in effect which prevented citizens from leaving their residences unless it was necessary for one of 29 enumerated reasons. Protesting was not a permissible reason to leave one’s residence under the Order.
Huron County Provincial Police warned the protestors to disperse. The Bostock’s asserted their constitutional freedom of peaceful assembly and refused to leave. They then each received a $880 ticket.
They immediately completed the back of the ticket and requested a trial date. They did not hear anything until January 2023 when they received a Notice of Trial in the mail. Their trial was scheduled for March 7, 2023.
After discussions between their lawyer and the prosecutor, the Bostock’s agreed to make a modest charitable donation and that following the donation all charges would be withdrawn. The Court adjourned the case to June 6, 2023, to allow them time to make the donation. Finally, after over two years of waiting, on the morning of June 6 all charges against the Bostock’s were withdrawn.
Christopher Fleury, counsel for Valerie and Richard Bostock, stated that “had the case proceeded, my clients would have made an issue of the 22-month delay in bringing the case to trial. Delays of this length in the Provincial Offences Court, which normally hears minor traffic tickets, are unacceptable. That being said, the Bostock’s are quite happy with the outcome.”
The constitutionality of Ontario’s Stay-At-Home Order in place in 2021 is currently the subject of a constitutional challenge in Ontario Superior Court, brought on behalf of former MPP Randy Hillier, who was also participated in peaceful protests across Ontario in 2021. The case will be argued in court on July 27-28, 2023.