Canadian Café Owner Acquitted of COVID-Related Charges Defying Health Mandates

In a remarkable turn of events, a Canadian café owner, Christopher Scott, who boldly defied COVID-19 health mandates by keeping his restaurant open for in-person dining in early 2021, has been acquitted of all nine charges brought against him. Justice James Glass of the Red Deer Provincial Court delivered the unexpected verdict, stating unequivocally, “You’re free to go.” This surprising decision comes after months of legal battles and a growing debate over the legitimacy of COVID-19 regulations.

Challenging the Status Quo

From January to April 2021, Christopher Scott courageously kept his café, located in the quaint hamlet of Mirror, north of Red Deer, open despite stringent COVID-19 rules that prohibited in-person dining. This act of defiance did not go unnoticed, and eventually, Scott found himself facing arrest by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who apprehended him in his restaurant’s parking lot. Subsequently, he was charged with multiple COVID-related violations.

Crown prosecutors contended that Scott had violated the Public Health Act, but his lawyer, Chad Williamson, argued that the health orders were unreasonable. Williamson emphasized the importance of government-administrated bodies receiving sound legal advice to ensure that their exercise of power complies with the law. He asserted that this crucial aspect was lacking in Scott’s case.

A Legal Turning Point

Scott’s acquittal takes place against the backdrop of a recent Alberta court ruling that raised questions about the validity of COVID mandates in the province. In late July, a judge ruled that politicians had overstepped their authority by making decisions regarding COVID-19 mandates without proper authorization.

In light of this court ruling, the Alberta Crown Prosecutions Service (ACPS) announced that individuals currently facing COVID-related charges would likely not be convicted, and their charges would be stayed. Alongside Christopher Scott, Alberta Pastors James Coates and Tim Stephens, who faced incarceration for keeping their churches open during former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s leadership, have also seen all COVID-related charges against them dropped due to this precedent-setting court ruling.

Impact on Civil Liberties

Christopher Scott’s steadfast resistance to COVID-19 regulations in 2021 had far-reaching consequences for Albertans’ freedoms. Alberta Chief Justice J. Rooke issued a sweeping order on May 6, 2021, that effectively banned “illegal” protests against COVID mandates in Alberta, allowing authorities to detain and imprison those who defied these rules. While the order was initially aimed at Scott, it was later applied to Pastor Artur Pawlowski and his brother Dawid, effectively putting a damper on the right to protest for all Albertans.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) played a pivotal role in challenging this order, leading to a revision on May 13, which limited its application solely to Christopher Scott.

After the departure of Premier Jason Kenney, Danielle Smith took the reins and made significant changes in the province’s COVID-19 response. This included the removal of the province’s top doctor, Deena Hinshaw, and the entire Alberta Health Services (AHS) board of directors, who had overseen the COVID mandates. Smith also garnered attention by promising to consider pardoning Christian pastors who had been imprisoned for opposing COVID policies during Kenney’s tenure and offering apologies to those who faced discrimination based on their vaccine status.


Christopher Scott’s acquittal marks a significant moment in the ongoing debate surrounding COVID-19 regulations and their impact on civil liberties. It highlights the importance of legal scrutiny and the need for clear authorization when it comes to public health mandates. As Alberta grapples with the aftermath of these events, the implications for future COVID-19 regulations and individual rights remain at the forefront of public discourse.

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