It’s been more than two years since the property of GraceLife Church in Alberta, Canada, was seized by law enforcement due to the church’s disregarding the government’s COVID-19 health orders. Pastor James Coates was imprisoned for preaching and holding worship services throughout 2020. Now, after two years of court battles, Coates is expected to be acquitted of all charges.
Coates has made international headlines with his story, his defiance, and his imprisonment. People have split, with some believing him a courageous saint and others contending his decisions risked the lives of others.
In an exclusive report by The Epoch Times, Coates said he had just received the news of his acquittal. He would take “time to process it all” before he could speak further.
After Two Years in Court, Pastor James Coates to Be Acquitted for COVID-19 Charges
Following a court decision on July 31 that “ruled public health orders issued in the province were invalid and enacted outside the powers of the province’s Public Health Act,” Edmonton Crown Prosecutor Karen Thorsrud said she didn’t have any further information or evidence to introduce into the case.
The recent court decision, made by Justice Barbara Romaine, “invalidated all public health orders issued by the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH),” which were “enacted outside of the powers of the Public Health Act, and were made by cabinet, not then-chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw,” reported The Epoch Times.
Thorsrud said in an email that she would “invite an acquittal from the court” and hopes the matter can be settled on Aug. 30 in docket court or in a non-docket courtroom.
Defense lawyer Leighton Grey said that Coates accepts the acquittal proposal. Grey also mentioned that the July 31 court decision is “going to expose the Alberta government to substantial civil liability.”
Grey said that “if governments exceed the limits of authority granted to them, the courts will declare the laws illegal or invalid.”
“That is a fundamental recognition of the rule of law, and that is what has been missing from Canadian jurisprudence for three years,” continued Grey. This decision tells government: “Your powers have limits. This is the first time that government overreach has been checked.”
Pastor James Coates and the Canadian Government
Back in 2020, Coates continued to preach and hold worship services in direct violation of the COVID-19 restrictions set by the Alberta provincial government. At the time, the church had around 400 in attendance. The number of congregants is said to have doubled following the arrest of the pastor.