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Court Invalidates Alberta Public Health Orders, Drops Charges Against Pastors

Pastor imprisoned for keeping his church open during the 2021 lockdowns has charges dropped.


Charges against Canadian, Tim Stephens have been dropped following the invalidation of Alberta’s public health orders.

Stephens, the Pastor of Fairview Baptist Church was imprisoned for keeping his church open during lockdowns in 2021.

Contra to the public health order advice of Dr. Deena Hinshaw, he held church services outdoors.

In consequence, Stephens was arrested in front of his family of 8, and then served 21 days in gaol.

The Pastor’s legal win hinged on the outcome of a 2020 court case known as Ingram v. Alberta.

Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom recounted the ‘Court of King’s Bench’ decision on that case in early August 2023.

“The court struck down Alberta’s lockdown measures because they were effectively issued by Cabinet rather than by Dr. Hinshaw,” JCCF said.

During the trial, Dr. Hinshaw argued she was only making recommendations, adding, “Politicians were the final decision-making authority.”

The 90-page ruling concurred.

“Although Dr. Hinshaw was maligned during the pandemic and afterwards as the symbol of the restrictions, she was not in fact the final decision-maker.”

If, Justice Barbara E. Romaine, said, the PHOs had come directly from Hinshaw, as CMO, they would have been perfectly valid.

Romaine described the “limitations” (lockdowns et.al) as “reasonable in a free and democratic society.”

They were “amply and demonstrably justified, by way of a valid legislative purpose,” she concluded.

This appears to be based on a Supreme Court example featured on page 34 of the decision, which reads, “Most modern constitutions recognize that rights are not absolute and can be limited if this is necessary to achieve an important objective and if the limit is appropriately tailored, or proportionate.”

The ruling didn’t seem to bother defining what was considered, “appropriately tailored, or proportionate.”

Optimistic the invalidation of Alberta’s public health orders, which have freed Pastor Stephens, JFFC is hopeful the outcome will extinguish similar charges made against Pastor James Coates.

Coates spent 5-weeks in prison for refusing to turn people away from his church.

JCCF expect to hear about the Coates’ case by August 30.

Canada’s Rebel News, who’ve been closely following the imprisonment of pastors, and the Woketevist Trudeaun war on Christianity in Canada since 2020, said they expect the charges against Coates – among 14 others – to be dropped.

For JCCF, Justice Romaine’s decision confirmed that lockdowns violated Albertans fundamental freedoms of conscience, religion, association, and peaceful assembly protected in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This, they argued, was compounded by Alberta’s defence not ‘producing any comprehensive studies, reports or data analysing lockdown harms.’

Pastor Stephens, ecstatic by the outcome, said on X, “All glory to God that the last charge against me and our church has been dropped.

“These past few years have demonstrated the faithfulness of our God. Christ meant it when he said, ‘I will build my church.’ Jesus Christ is Lord of all. He is worthy.”

Having defended Grace Church, and John Macarthur against California’s fear-mongering, freedom-killing bureaucracy, Jenna Ellis noted, “Fighting tyranny, injustice, and the weaponization of government is not easy, but it is worth standing firm.”

Faced with her own battle against a weaponised justice system, the former Trump lawyer added, “Now that I am the target, not just the advocate, I look to the example of these pastors, and also Pastor James Coates who was imprisoned, and I am resolved to follow their examples of firmness in our mutual faith in Christ alone.”

The invalidation of Alberta’s PHOs didn’t save everyone.

Ontario Pastor, Henry Hildebrant explained in a video posted on X, that while the majority of charges against him were dropped for holding an outdoor service on June 6, 2021, he was still fined $65,000.

Hildebrant was told he had harmed the community.

Admitting to being guilty of obeying God, rather than man, he suggested compensating those he had allegedly harmed, by giving, in lieu of the fine, $75,000 dollars to his local foodbank.

In a jaw-dropping reply, “The offer was declined outright by the prosecution. Instead, the $65,000 will be going to the Ontario government, not the local community” he was accused of harming.

This flat-out no, he said, “raises the question about whether our actions actually harmed the community, or whether our actions harmed the government narrative. I’ll let you decide.”

A GiveSendGo page seeking to raise money to pay the fine has so far notched up over USD $6,000.

Although Pastor Tim Stephens’ legal victory happens to be a loophole win against COVID overreach.

It’s a win nonetheless.

Pastoral care is an essential service.

This victory reveals an insecure pagan political class, turned power-hungry bureaucracy, who tripped over the Christian Canadian constitution.

On one hand, the bureaucracy’s fear of a virus trumped their fear of God and the polis.

On the other hand, they willingly allowed opportunists to turn the war on the virus into a war on the people.

As the saying goes, “Give them enough rope…”

It’s good to know there’s still some mileage left in that old adage yet.

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