JCCF: Appeal for Pastor Coates' release from prison set for March 4th
Updated: Mar 2, 2021
EDMONTON: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has obtained a court date of Wednesday, March 4th, for the appeal of the bail conditions placed on Pastor James Coates. Pastor Coates, of Grace Life Church was arrested and taken into custody at the Edmonton Remand Centre, where he remains today, after he refused to sign a bail condition which would have forced him to not attend or hold church services as normal. The Justice Centre has filed an appeal in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, which will determine whether Pastor Coates can be released from jail prior to a trial date set for May 3-5, 2021, in Alberta Provincial Court in Stony Plain. Erin Coates, wife of the jailed pastor, has sworn an affidavit setting out the negative impact of her husband’s imprisonment on herself, her children, and members of the community. Members of the media and the public who wish to attend the Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench hearing remotely should contact the court directly. The Justice Centre has sent a letter to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, challenging him to assume responsibility for protecting the Charter rights and freedoms of Albertans, and cease allowing Dr. Deena Hinshaw to violate them with health orders that are not reviewed by, or approved by, the elected Members of the Legislative Assembly. “A trial set eight weeks down the road is too long for an innocent Pastor to be in jail. Pastor Coates is a peaceful Christian minister. The Justice of the Peace should not have required him to violate his conscience and effectively stop pastoring his church as a condition to be released. This is a miscarriage of justice,” states lawyer John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre, which represents Pastor Coates. “Charter freedoms do not disappear because the government declares regular church services to be outlawed while allowing hundreds of people to fill their local Walmarts,” notes Carpay. “Pastor Coates is not a criminal. He held church services and should not spend the next eight or more weeks in jail when he has not committed any crime,” concludes Carpay.