James Coates, the pastor of GraceLife Church outdoors Edmonton, stays in custody after showing in courtroom earlier than a choose Wednesday morning.
The church and its pastor have been discovered to be repeatedly in violation of public well being restrictions put in place to cut back transmission of COVID-19. The general public well being guidelines embrace a 15 per cent capability and bodily distancing.
Coates was fined in December, Alberta Well being Providers ordered the church to shut in January after which Coates was arrested and charged in early February for contravention of the Public Well being Act.
Final Sunday, RCMP and AHS went to the church to “assess compliance in relation to situations issued to the pastor on Feb. 7,” RCMP mentioned in a information launch.
“Observations have been made that James Coates was not complying together with his enterprise launch situations, and the church was not in compliance with the Public Well being Order.”
Due to that, the RCMP mentioned it will be furthering its investigation into the church and its pastor.
“To be very clear, the RCMP’s goal is to not interrupt church providers, prohibit providers, nor deny peoples’ proper to follow their faith — merely to make sure that public well being restrictions are adhered to whereas doing so,” Insp. Mike Lokken mentioned.
On Tuesday, Coates turned himself him, RCMP mentioned.
“He was charged with two counts of contravention of the Public Well being Act and charged for failing to adjust to a situation of his enterprise, underneath the Felony Code,” RCMP mentioned Wednesday.
There was a bail listening to on Wednesday morning and Coates “was to be launched on situations.” Nevertheless, “he continued to refuse to agree with these situations and a choose’s order was issued compelling him to attend courtroom on Wednesday, Feb. 24,” RCMP mentioned in a information launch.
“We’ve been constant in our method of escalated ranges of enforcement with Pastor Coates, and we have been hopeful to resolve this concern in a special method,” Lokken mentioned.
“The pastor’s actions, and the next results these actions may have on the well being and security of residents dictated our response on this state of affairs.”
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