Charges stayed against Derek Sloan and Henry Hildebrandt over their peaceful pro-freedom protests

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Charges stayed against Derek Sloan and Henry Hildebrandt over their peaceful pro-freedom protests

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WOODSTOCK, ON: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is pleased to announce that the charges against former MP Derek Sloan and Pastor Henry Hildebrandt for participating in peaceful outdoor protests against lockdowns have been stayed.

On May 8, 2021, former Member of Parliament Derek Sloan attended an outdoor anti-lockdown rally, organized by No More Lockdowns Canada. That rally attracted close to 1,000 participants and included a procession of farm tractors that slow-rolled the 25 km road from the town of Tillsonburg, Ontario, to the town of Norwich.

On May 30, Pastor Hildebrandt participated in a similar outdoor rally in Woodstock, Ontario, attended by an estimated 350 people.

Both rallies were peaceful. There were no criminal charges, only tickets for violating the Reopening Ontario Act, which placed a total ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings during the spring of 2021, although there was no evidence to show that outdoor gatherings were significant contributors to the spread of Covid.

Mr. Sloan had faced charges for participating in peaceful protests across Ontario, in Stratford, St. Thomas, Chatham, and Woodstock. All charges have been either stayed or withdrawn at the request of the respective prosecutors.

One of the most well-known pastors in Ontario, Pastor Hildebrandt exercised his Charterfreedoms of expression, association, conscience, religion and peaceful assembly in the face of provincial laws that violated these fundamental freedoms. He spoke at many peaceful outdoor rallies during the lockdowns and was charged more than six times in the first half of 2021 with violating the Reopening Ontario Act.

Pastor Nathaniel Wright of the nearby Crossroads Alliance Church was charged with holding a church service on May 2, 2021. All charges against him were stayed in the same jurisdiction, Woodstock, on February 15, 2024. Pastor Wright was also involved in the resolution of the Trinity Bible Chapel case, where all charges against him were stayed for protests in Kitchener-Waterloo. The Justice Centre provided lawyers to defend these courageous individuals, who received tickets for exercising their Charter freedoms.

All cases involving Mr. Sloan and Pastor Hildebrandt are now resolved.

“The government violated the Charter freedoms of millions of Ontarians with health measures that were based on fear, not science. There is no evidence to support the idea that peaceful outdoor gatherings, rendered illegal by the government, caused any harm,” stated John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre.

Chris Fleury, lawyer to both Mr. Sloan and Pastor Hildebrandt, stated, “While my clients would have preferred not to have been charged in the first place, this is an excellent outcome. With these resolutions, prosecutions under the Reopening Ontario Act are thankfully beginning to come to an end.”

For media inquiries, please contact media@jccf.ca.

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