Update #1. Friday the 26th has been confirmed for the conditions hearing. If the conditions are not waived, he will spend the next three months in prison.
Pastor James Coates’ trial has been scheduled for May 3rd before Stony Plain provincial court judge Charles Gardner, according to a decision handed down today. Coates did not appear in person in the courtroom as the date of the three-day trial was announced.
The next phase of the case will see Coates having a hearing to determine whether or not his conditions of release will be lifted. The current conditions prohibit him from stepping back onto church property, effectively handing him a restraining order against the church he pastors at and the flock he leads. He has so far not consented to these tyrannical impositions, resulting in more than a week in prison.
According to the Winnipeg Free Press, “John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, the organization representing Coates, said lawyer James Kitchen plans to file an application with the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench seeking the pastor’s release until the trial begins.”
Absent a bid to have the conditions of his release overturned, this ensures that unless he agrees to them at this point, or the crown prosecutor chooses to lay them aside, then the Gracelife Church pastor will remain incarcerated until the summer.
His lawyer, James Kitchen from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms was hoping for the early date, while the Crown wanted the trial in late June. With the May 3-5 date set, this means he will like spend nearly three months incarcerated.
Furthermore, with the church still choosing to remain open past the 15% capacity allowed under the shutdown, Gracelife is still firmly in the crosshairs of the Alberta Health Services who are seeking to shut them down and discontinue their gathering.
As a result, further Sunday services may result in the Associate Pastor being fined or likewise arrested. Or law enforcement officials will begin handing out $1200 fines to any congregants who step foot on Church property, with even another possibility that they will simply physically bar anyone from attending services and stepping on Church property.
On Saturday, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Edmonton Remand Center, the maximum-security prison where Coates is being kept, worshiping the Lord, praying, and rallying either for his release or for the supposedly devout Roman Catholic Premier of Alberta, Jason Kenny, revise his strict lockdown rules imposed on Churches and let the pastors of the province open up their churches.
This past Sunday, Pastor John MacArthur who is the Chancellor and Professor of Pastoral Ministry at The Master’s Seminary, the school where James Coates graduated from years ago, publicly prayed for him and his congregation, as well as released a statement of support on him.
This is a developing story….
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