R v. Hildebrandt

Charges against Pastor Hildebrandt, his son Herbert Hildebrandt, and his wife Martha Hildebrandt were all withdrawn at Brantford on February 27, 2023.

On April 3, 2021, nearly two years ago, Pastor Henry Hildebrandt, with his wife and son, participated in a “No More Lockdowns” rally in Brantford, Ontario. Pastor Hildebrandt spoke to approximately 1000 attendees about their guaranteed Charter rights to worship and assemble. Martha and Herbert attended the protest as onlookers. Each were ticketed $880 because of their choice to exercise their fundamental right to peaceful assembly.

The protest was entirely peaceful. Attendees gathered outside to protest the arbitrary COVID 19 mandates implemented by the government of Ontario, mandates that enforced stay at home orders and limits on outside gatherings and worship of healthy Ontarians. The police presence at the rally had been minimal and they were operating unnoticed in the background. Pastor Hildebrandt had no interactions with any of the officers during the protest.

After leaving the rally the Hildebrandt family stopped at the Tim Hortons for refreshments before heading home to Aylmer, Ontario. About 15 minutes later, as their vehicle was about to enter the highway, Pastor Hildebrandt’s son noticed police vehicles behind them. The first thought of the family was that there must be a dangerous criminal on the loose to warrant so many police cars. The long line of police vehicles had appeared out of nowhere.

When the police flashed their lights, the Hildebrandt’s were shocked to discover that they were the ones that the police were pursuing. The entire police cavalcade pulled over to the side of the road and Pastor Hildebrandt and the family members were given a $880 Provincial Offence Notice ticket for attending a gathering of more than 5 persons.

There had been ample opportunity for the police to serve Pastor Hildebrandt and his family with the tickets during the peaceful rally, however, they chose to have multiple police vehicles follow and pull him over in order to serve him and his family with the ticket.

“COVID 19 mandates are political in nature and not based on science,” says Pastor Hildebrandt.

“At a time when government leaders were decreeing that thousands of people could attend a BLM rally in London, Ontario, over and over again, church congregations were getting tickets for gathering to worship. That’s when it became clear that we were dealing with a political rather than a health issue,” concludes Pastor Hildebrandt.

Rather than feel defeated by the unfairness of the system, Pastor Hildebrandt has been stirred to speak in defence of the truth, justice, and his faith. When he learned that the charges were being withdrawn, he took to Twitter to herald the good news, writing, “Thank God, all charges are being withdrawn after we declined a plea deal. I’m grateful to the @JCCFCanada for their continued legal representation.”

“I am encouraged that some Crown Attorneys are beginning to prioritize the prosecution of serious criminal and quasi-criminal offences. Prosecuting individuals such as Pastor Hildebrandt, whose wrongdoing was attending a public rally and giving a speech critical of government policy, has always been a waste of the Court’s time”, said Chris Fleury, counsel representing Hildebrandt’s. Mr. Fleury commented further, “Pastor Hildebrandt continues to face prosecutions in other jurisdictions including in Elgin County where his Church is located. We will continue to fight these charges aggressively.”

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