Contempt of court charges dropped:  R v. Stephens 

On May 6, 2021, Associate Chief Justice John Rooke of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench issued what might be the broadest restraining order in common law history. The order was directed at the Whistle Stop Café located near Mirror, Alberta.  However, the order applied “anywhere in Alberta” and even to people acting “independently” of the Whistle Stop Café.  On May 13, 2021, the Justice Centre successfully secured an amendment to the Whistle Stop Order so that it no longer applied to those acting “independently” of the Whistle Stop Café.  

 However, the next Sunday, May 16, 2021, Calgary Police, at the behest of Alberta Health Services, went to Fairview Baptist Church and arrested Pastor Tim Stephens.  The arrest of Pastor Stephens was claimed to be on the basis of the Whistle Stop Order.   

Pastor Stephens was subjected to strip searching, and paired with an aggressive and threatening cell mate, while prison guards left him feeling helpless, refusing to answer his questions about unwritten prison rules and procedures. In being transferred to and from court in the days following, his ankles were shackled in chains.  Justice Centre lawyers argued, among other things, that Pastor Stephens should be released from jail, on the basis that he had never in fact been served: police had in fact previously served a different man from Fairview Baptist Church, who they wrongly assumed was Pastor Stephens.  After being incarcerated two nights and three days, Pastor Stephens was released from jail.  The charge of contempt against Pastor Stephens for allegedly violating the Whistle Stop Order was withdrawn  by Alberta Health Services on May 28, 2021.   




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