GraceLife Church and James Coates Sue AHS to Get Their Building Back

Supporters gather outside GraceLife Church near Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday, April 11, 2021. The church has been fenced off by police and Alberta Health Services in violation of COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

GraceLife Church has gone on the offensive and is suing Alberta Heath Services (AHS) to get their church back, making an application to the Court of Queen’s Bench demanding immediate access to their chruch and and property, according to a press release from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

The move comes two months after AHS joined forces with law enforcement to create a barricade around GraceLife Church and prohibit anyone from entering, causing large protests and creating a stark symbol of the tyranny and hostility of the Canadian government toward churches.

The church has been without its building since April 7th, becoming one of the first churches in Canada to meet in secret and form the underground church, borne out of necessity in order to avoid further arrest, fines, and jail time. According to the release:

The GraceLife Applicants contend the public health restrictions on worship violate their rights to freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, liberty, and security of the person as protected by sections 2 and 7 of the Charter.

In addition to asking the Court to strike down the public health restrictions, the GraceLife Applicants are seeking the immediate return of their building and an order from the court prohibiting law enforcement and government agents from attempting to break up or disrupt worship services.

Three congregants of GraceLife Church, Dr. Donna Klay, Achnes Smith, and Allan Neil, have joined the Church and Pastor Coates in asking the Court to uphold their constitutional rights by reversing the government’s seizure of their church building.

In addition to that, they’ve also launched an appeal against the June 7 decision that said James Coates charter rights were not violated,

Expert reports have been filed in support of this court challenge from medical professionals and scientists including:  esteemed virologist and immunologist, Dr. Byram Bridle; an expert pathologist; in addition to a medical microbiologist and infectious disease specialist. These extensive expert reports include scientific evidence that asymptomatic transmission is negligible, that masks are ineffective and irrational, and that capacity limits of church gatherings are also irrational and have no basis in science.

The Justice Centre will also be appealing the June 7 decision of Alberta Provincial Court Judge Robert Shaigec, who ruled that the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of Pastor Coates did not violate his Charter rights and freedoms, and that ticketing Pastor Coates for leading a regular worship service did not violate freedoms of religion, expression, assembly, and association.

The next court date for Coates is on June 30, where they will “challenge the constitutionality and legality of Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s lockdown restrictions.”

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