16.2 C
Saturday, September 30, 2023
HomeCanadaAlberta Judge Acquits Restaurant Owner on Trial for Violating Pandemic Laws: 'You're...

Alberta Judge Acquits Restaurant Owner on Trial for Violating Pandemic Laws: ‘You’re at liberty to leave’


More than two years after he was charged with violating pandemic-related public health restrictions, a Red Deer judge acquitted Whistle Stop Cafe owner Chris Scott.

The decision came Monday after the prosecutor requested the ruling in light of a recent court decision that found the orders invalid because they were imposed in a manner that violated Alberta’s Public Health Act.

“Mr. Scott, I will clear you of the charges, you are free to go,” Judge James Glass said.

A roomful of Scott supporters erupted; clapping and cheering. Hugs and handshakes followed as he left the courtroom.

Christopher Scott was on trial on various charges, accused of violating Alberta’s Public Health Law when his restaurant, the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror, Alta., remained open in violation of an order banning large gatherings and in-person dining. in January 2021.

Scott was arrested by the RCMP in May 2021 after holding a protest outside the restaurant despite a warrant. In an email sent to Breaking: at the time, Scott criticized politicians who allow “legislation that allows people to strip us of our fundamental rights and freedoms with the stroke of the pen, without due process.”

His trial began a year ago.

“It is not a sustainable process”

On Monday, Chief Crown Prosecutor Peter Mackenzie formally invited the judge to acquit Scott in light of a King’s Court decision issued in late July by Justice Barbara Romaine, which found that the decision-making process decisions in a lawsuit called Ingram, named after one of the plaintiffs – violated the Public Health Act.

“The Crown’s submission is that it will not pursue prosecution of this case as a result of the Ingram decision,” Mackenzie said. “From that standpoint, it’s not a sustainable process.”

A lawyer for Alberta Health Services (AHS) told the judge that the agency “does not take any position on Mr. Mackenzie’s application.”

Last week, the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) said in a written statement that it had concluded that “there is no longer a reasonable probability of conviction in relation to the Public Health Act charges that imply the contravention of the disputed orders of the Medical Director of Health.”

ACPS said 14 prosecutions, including the high-profile cases of Scott, pastor James Coates and rodeo organizer Ty Northcott, remain before the courts.

Romain’s decision found that politicians made the final decision on the province’s pandemic-related health restrictions instead of the medical director of health (CMOH), which is not allowed under the law.

The court action began in December 2020 when a group of plaintiffs, including two churches and gym owner Rebecca Ingram, filed a lawsuit arguing that pandemic-related public health measures were contrary to the Alberta Bill of Rights and unlawfully violated the rights of individuals under Canadian Law. Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

‘Justified’ offenses

Romaine ruled that the former medical director of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, made recommendations and ultimately implemented the restrictions, but it was the cabinet that wielded the final decision-making power.

The Alberta Public Health Act does not allow the CMOH to delegate its decision-making powers to politicians.

But Romaine also ruled that even if the proper framework for decision-making existed, the constitutional rights of Albertans would not have been violated.

Romaine concluded that any violation of the rights of Albertans that occurred was “amply and demonstrably justified” under the Charter due to the nature of the unprecedented public health emergency.

The author of what'snew2day.com is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date on the latest news and information.

Latest stories