More victories for freedom as ArriveCAN charges dropped and fines reduced

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Courtesy of Gheorghe and Carmen Neferu

More victories for freedom as ArriveCAN charges dropped and fines reduced

Courtesy of Gheorghe and Carmen Neferu

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MISSISSAUGA, ON: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is pleased to announce that it continues to see dropped charges and significantly reduced fines for Canadians who allegedly violated the Quarantine Act or who chose not to use the ArriveCAN app at Canadian borders.

The Justice Centre has provided defence counsel to eight Canadians who chose not to comply with a mandatory ArriveCAN.

Added together, these eight Canadians received a total of 13 tickets, with combined fine amounts totalling $54,815. Defence counsel provided by the Justice Centre negotiated with the Crown to secure admissions that amounted to fines totalling $1,216, not $54,815. All hearings for these cases were scheduled to take place in April at the Ontario Court of Justice in Mississauga, Ontario.

Here are their stories.

Cory Thorn, along with his wife, Guiseppina Lamacchia, their two small children and Guiseppina’s mother Carmela Lamacchia, were returning from a trip to Italy on September 8, 2022, when they were stopped at the Canadian border. They had not downloaded the ArriveCAN app because they did not feel comfortable with the app. They asked if they could submit the required information on paper but were told they could either use the app or face fines. The three adults were given two tickets each, one for $955 and another for $6,255. Together, the family faced a total of $21,630 in fines for violating two sections of the Quarantine Act: section 58, failing to comply with an order prohibiting or subjecting to any condition the entry into Canada and section 15(1), failing to answer a relevant question asked by a screening officer or to provide the officer with any required information or record. Their trials were scheduled for April 15, 2024. Five of the six tickets were dismissed. Carmela pled guilty to one charge and received a reduced fine of $615.

On September 22, 2022, a mother and her adult daughter, who have requested anonymity, were returning from a trip to Italy when they were each fined $6,255 for failing to use the ArriveCAN app. The women felt uneasy providing private health information through the ArriveCAN app. They offered to provide the information orally to border officials. Their offer was refused. Each had trial dates set for April 23, 2024. The daughter’s charge was withdrawn by the Crown, while her mother pled guilty and paid a significantly reduced fine of $300.

Daniel Sauro and his partner, Gina Campoli, traveling with their one-year-old daughter, returned from a family vacation on September 24, 2022, when each adult was issued a ticket for $6,255 under section 58 of the Quarantine Act for not using the ArriveCAN app. They were uneasy about disclosing private medical information and were concerned about the app’s security. Their trial was scheduled for April 18, 2024 -nineteen months after the tickets were issued. The public health officer did not appear at trial, and so the prosecutor was forced to withdraw all charges.

Gheorghe and Carmen Neferu traveled back to Canada from abroad on August 3, 2022, when they were each given two tickets with fines for failing to use the ArriveCAN app, totaling $14,420 They did not want to answer invasive questions regarding their medical status. Their trials were scheduled for April 8, 2024. The charges against Carmen were withdrawn, while Gheorghe had one charge withdrawn. He pled guilty to the other, paying a reduced fine of $300.

A constitutional challenge to the ArriveCAN app requirement continues to proceed in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Chris Fleury, lead counsel on the Charter challenge to the ArriveCan app requirement, says, “Each and every Canadian who refused to provide their vaccination status via ArriveCAN was also subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine in addition to their ticket. The quarantine had no scientific or public health basis and was a breach of Canadian’s Charter right not to be arbitrarily detained. While we would have preferred that no one was charged in the first place, we are pleased to see the prosecution taking a more reasonable approach to these cases.”

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