A Canadian pastor who was jailed for violating pandemic lockdown procedures will appear in court on Wednesday after investing a week in jail.

On Sunday February 14, the Royal Canadian Installed Authorities (RCMP) and Alberta Health Solutions went to Pastor James Coates’ GraceLife Church in Parkland County, situated west of Edmonton. There, they figured out that the church was defying COVID-19 constraints, which needs locations of worship to be run at 15 percent capacity and mask-use for congregants.

2 days later, on February, 16, Coates turned himself in to authorities and was charged with two counts of contravening the Public Health Act and one criminal charge. Following a bail hearing, Coates was to be released on conditions, however he declined to consent to those conditions and has given that remained in custody. An RCMP spokesperson confirmed to Newsweek that Coates was still in custody on Monday evening.

As Coates continued to refuse the conditions of his bail, “a Judge’s Order was issued engaging him to go to court on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021,” the RCMP stated in a declaration. Coates is expected to remain in custody till the court hearing.

Judge gavel for church story
A judges gavel rests on top of a desk in the courtroom of the recently opened Black Police Precinct and Court House Museum February 3, 2009 in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty

” We’ve been consistent in our approach of intensified levels of enforcement with Pastor Coates, and we were hopeful to fix this issue in a different manner,” stated Inspector Mike Lokken, detachment commander of the Parkland RCMP. “The Pastor’s actions, and the subsequent results those actions might have on the health and wellness of residents, dictated our response in this scenario.”

He added: “To be extremely clear, the RCMP’s goal is not to interrupt church services, forbid services, nor reject individuals’ right to practice their religion– simply to guarantee that public health restrictions are complied with while doing so.”

The church has been implicated of repeatedly holding in-person services beyond the designated capability. The RCMP informed Newsweek that their investigation into GraceLife Church was continuous as of Monday.

Coates has actually been apparently violating COVID-19 lockdown steps because December, when the RCMP initially issued the pastor with an infraction ticket.

Authorities did not interfere with the church proceedings, however afterward, they jailed Coates and launched the pastor with a court look date.

James Cooking Area, Coates’ lawyer, declares that his client had never ever agreed to the February 7 undertaking to adhere to public health steps.


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