by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A pastor in Canada who was jailed for breaching COVID-19 restrictions on in-person worship services was acquitted this week of charges that he violated public health orders, the Christian Post (CP) reports.
Pastor Tim Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary spent 21 days in jail last year for refusing to comply with restrictions on in-person church services, CP said. Stephens was also fined several times over the issue.
On Tuesday, the Provincial Court of Alberta acquitted Stephens of two remaining charges against him, CP reports. These were related to church services held on February 28, 2021, and March 7, 2021, which officials said were in violation of restrictions and social distancing requirements. Stephens was represented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms at the hearing.
“We are pleased that the Court has acquitted Pastor Stephens on the charges of not complying with a public health order,” the Justice Center said in a statement. “Pastor Stephens was illegally arrested and imprisoned for having allegedly violated the Public Health Orders, which have since been shown to be ineffective and harmful.
“This decision sets the record straight about the justifiability of his actions and about the importance of respecting Charter rights and freedoms,” the Justice Center said.
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