The Canadian pastor who was jailed after he refused to turn people away from his Alberta church will remain behind bars until May after being denied bail.
Pastor James Coates of GraceLife church will be imprisoned until his May 3-5 trial after he was arrested two weeks ago and charged under the Public Health Act for violating public health orders, including being over capacity and failing to adhere to social distancing requirements.
Police had been working with the Alberta Health Services (AHS) to investigate the church after the gathering was reported for breach of state health orders.
At the request of the police, Pastor Coates handed himself in to authorities last month and is being held in jail unless he commits to not pastoring his church.
This is Pastor James Coates.— Caldron Pool (@CaldronPool) February 18, 2021
Today he sits in a jail cell because he believes church is essential. pic.twitter.com/p3BzKfEzFu
Pastor Coates was denied bail just one week after the same prison released a convicted child rapist, forcing police to issue a warning to the public to stay vigilant as it’s likely the rapist will offend again.
The Edmonton Police Service issued a press release on Monday, warning the public that convicted sexual offender, Clyle Larsen, had been released from Edmonton Remand Centre and will be living in the Edmonton area.
“The Edmonton Police Service has reasonable grounds to believe he will commit another sexual offence against someone under the age of 16 while in the community,” the press release said.
Pastor Coates’ lawyer, James Kitchen, told Rebel News they are currently contemplating an appeal to the Alberta Court of Appeals.
“This is a pastor who’s been in jail since February 16, already more than two weeks, and now for another eight weeks in jail for not being willing to comply with unscientific and unconstitutional health orders.”
According to the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, GraceLife church has almost 400 congregants, and not one has been lost to the virus. However, one of their members did die in the first week of February because he was unable to receive cancer treatment due to the Government’s restrictions.
Following the ruling, Pastor Coates’ wife Erin said on social media that their young children are broken-hearted but are trusting in God’s goodness.