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Pastor Alberta who challenged COVID-19 rules refuses bail conditions, remains in custody




James Coates, the GraceLife Church preacher outside Edmonton, remains in custody after appearing in court before a judge Wednesday morning.

READ MORE:Edmonton area pastor arrested, charged after repeatedly ignoring COVID-19 rules

The church and its pastor have been found to consistently violate public health restrictions imposed to reduce COVID-19 transmission. Public health rules include a capacity of 15 percent and physical distance.

Coates fined in December, Alberta Health Services ordered the church closed in January, and then Coates was arrested and charged in early February with violating the Public Health Act.

READ MORE:Rural church near Edmonton ordered to close for breaking COVID-19 rules after December warning

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Last Sunday, the RCMP and AHS went to church to “assess compliance with the terms issued for the pastor on February 7,” the RCMP said in a press release.

“Observations were made that James Coates was not in compliance with his terms of undertaking the release and the church was not in compliance with the Public Health Order.”

Read more:

Pastor Alberta who fights COVID-19 rules says hell helps if the health system drowns

Because of this, the RCMP said it would further its investigation into the church and its pastor.

“To be very clear, the purpose of the RCMP is not to interrupt church services, to ban services, nor to deny people the right to practice their religion – simply to ensure that public health restrictions are met while operating. thus, “Insp. Tha Mike Lokken.

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Read more:

Alberta RCMP continues investigation because GraceLife Church is still breaking COVID-19 rules

On Tuesday, Coates returned to it himself, the RCMP said.

“He was charged with two counts of violating the Public Health Act and charged with failing to comply with a condition of his undertaking, under the Criminal Code,” the RCMP said on Wednesday.

There was a parole hearing Wednesday morning and Coates “would be released on parole”. However, “he continued to refuse to comply with those terms and an order from a judge was issued forcing him to appear in court on Wednesday, February 24,” the RCMP said in a press release.

READ MORE:Alberta at a standstill with the Edmonton area church over COVID rules; Dr. Hinshaw says she can not intervene

“We have been consistent in our approach to escalating implementation levels with Pastor Coates, and we were hoping to resolve this issue in another way,” Lokken said.

“The actions of the pastor and the subsequent effects that these actions may have on the health and safety of citizens dictated our response to this situation.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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