GraceLife Church pastor James Coates denied release; trial to run May 3-5

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GraceLife church Pastor James Coates will remain behind bars ahead of his trial this spring for allegedly breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

Coates, pastor at the Parkland County church, has been jailed in the Edmonton Remand Centre for the past two weeks after continuing to hold worship services in breach of COVID-19 restrictions.

James Kitchen, Coates’ lawyer, said his client’s decision not to adhere to an undertaking that required him to stop holding church services without social distancing or capacity limits was a matter of conscience.

Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Peter Michalyshyn, however, ruled Friday that there were no legal errors in the initial release decision.

In his decision, Michalyshyn says Coates’ “beliefs and conviction, without more, do not overcome those valid and enforceable laws. He remains subject to the rule of law.”

Coates’ trial on the Public Health Act charges is set to run May 3-5.

More to come. 

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