(ChurchLeaders) The trial of Pastor James Coates began today in Edmonton, the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta. The first day of the trial included testimony from an inspector with Alberta Health Services (AHS) and is expected to include an “expert witness” from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), which is representing Coates.
“The Justice Centre intends to argue at this Monday, May 3 trial that Pastor Coates’ Charter rights and freedoms have been violated, and the court should therefore throw out the Public Health Act charge against Pastor Coates,” said the JCCF in a news release. “One expert witness will be called by the Justice Centre during this first part of the trial.”
James Coates is the pastor of GraceLife Church in Spruce Grove, Alberta. He is facing one charge of violating the Public Health Act due to holding worship services in defiance of capacity and social distancing requirements. Authorities shuttered the church last month, but the congregation has met at least once since then in an undisclosed location.