Alberta Well being Providers says it has withdrawn its contempt utility in opposition to Pastor Tim Stephens of Calgary’s Fairview Baptist Church as a result of he wasn’t correctly served with a courtroom order instructing him to observe COVID-19 public well being guidelines.
“The applying was withdrawn as a result of a difficulty of mistaken identification when the injunction was served,” AHS stated in a press release.
Stephens was one in every of a number of folks arrested and/or charged in current weeks after the Alberta authorities introduced in new protocols in early Might to extend enforcement in opposition to individuals who flagrantly spurned public well being orders associated to the pandemic, particularly those that repeatedly organized or inspired giant gatherings.
Stephens was arrested in mid-Might after months of encouraging church congregants to interrupt public well being guidelines.
Police stated on the time that Stephens was arrested for organizing a Sunday service at Fairview Baptist Church after AHS had tried for weeks to work with the church, and that the enforcement motion was a final resort.
“The pastor acknowledged the injunction, however selected to maneuver ahead with at the moment’s service, ignoring necessities for social distancing, masks sporting and lowered capability limits for attendees,” police stated in an emailed launch in mid-Might.
However AHS now says, as a result of error when the injunction was served, it has dropped its contempt of courtroom utility in opposition to Stephens.
Since Alberta stepped up enforcement in opposition to COVID-19 rule-breakers, these arrested and/or charged embody:
- Artur and Dawid Pawlowski, two organizers of a Calgary church service who’ve been defying public well being restrictions all through the pandemic.
- Kevin J. Johnston, a Calgary mayoral candidate who’s below a restraining order after threatening to arm himself and go to the houses of well being employees.
- Chris Scott, the proprietor of the Whistle Cease Café in Mirror, and a few of his supporters, who continued to defy public well being orders.
- Ty and Gail Northcott, the organizers of a rodeo held to protest COVID-19 restrictions close to Bowden.
“AHS will proceed to implement the present [public health] orders, together with these associated to unlawful indoor gatherings,” the provincial well being authority stated in its assertion.
“AHS strongly condemns the intentional disobeying of COVID-19 public well being restrictions.”