Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church lost his bid to have the bail conditions of his release altered during a hearing today, ensuring that unless he agrees to not step foot on Church property and not fulfill his pastoral duties at the church, or the crown prosecutor drops the conditions, he will remain incarcerated until his May 3 trial.
Despite the setback, there will be an appeal, though that could take up to two weeks to be heard.
Justice Michalyshyn told both parties that he prepared a written decision, which will be publicly available on the court’s website later this afternoon.
According to a statement by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, Justice Centre President, lawyer John Carpay slammed the continued incarceration of Coates, describing it as a “miscarriage of justice.”
Charter freedoms do not disappear because the government declares regular Church services to be outlawed while allowing hundreds of people to fill their local Walmart. Pastor Coates is not a criminal. He held church services and should not spend the next eight or more weeks in jail when he has not committed any crime.
Ironically…it was Jason Kenney, then federal Immigration Minister, who stood at the side of Stephen Harper in February 2013, as the Government announced the creation of the Office of Religious Freedom, to promote freedom of religion around the world. But apparently not in Alberta.
A trial set eight weeks down the road is too long for an innocent Pastor to be in jail. Pastor Coates is a peaceful Christian minister. The Justice of the Peace should not have required him to violate his conscience and effectively stop pastoring his church as a condition to be released. This is a miscarriage of justice.
This is a developing story.
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