News by email Donate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

James C banner.png
James.png
World News

'I don't believe Covid-19 is a serious threat to our people': Trial starts for Canadian pastor jailed for breaking Covid rules

by Kelly Valencia

 The trial for a Canadian pastor who spent 35 days in jail for encouraging his church to breach coronavirus restrictions has started. 

James Coates, lead pastor of Grace Life church, is facing a charge of breaking the Public Health Act by holding in-person services exceeding the coronavirus capacity limit and ignoring distancing rules required by authorities in the area. 

He was first fined in December but was jailed in February after authorities attended the church and saw further violations. Coates was then released in March and fined over £1,000.

On Monday, the father of two took to the stand as a witness. 

"We never wanted this public position that we've been given," Coates told the jury. "It came to us. We'd happily resign all of it to be able to worship quietly on Sundays without all this attention." 

Although Coates admitted that the core allegations were accurate, he argued the coronavirus restrictions in the area are unconstitutional and directly restrict the church's right to freedom of worship. 

He also explained that he had complied with the initial coronavirus restrictions as they moved the services online, but because the most senior government official in Alberta, Jason Kenney, had referred to the virus as an "influenza", it led them to believe that the virus was not very serious.

Coates added the church had developed their own tracing system when they found two members who tested positive for Covid-19 and said the church has been coronavirus-free for the last 37 weeks. 

"I don't believe that Covid-19 poses a serious health risk to our people," he continued.

The pastor is being represented by Leighton Grey and James Kitchen, lawyers with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

The trial is scheduled to run for four days.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £8 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £8 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

Connect

Donate

Donate