In early 2021, a Canadian café owner stood against COVID health mandates, defying the restrictions and maintaining his restaurant’s in-person dining. This act of defiance led to nine charges being leveled against him. However, Justice James Glass of the Red Deer Provincial Court recently delivered a groundbreaking verdict, acquitting the café owner of all charges, stating, “You’re free to go.”
The Defiant Café Owner
From January to April 2021, Christopher Scott, the owner of Whistle Stop Cafe located in the small hamlet of Mirror, north of Red Deer, boldly kept his establishment open in direct contravention of the prevailing COVID regulations, which prohibited in-person dining.
An Arrest and Multiple Charges
As the months passed, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police apprehended Scott in his restaurant’s parking lot. This led to his temporary incarceration and the subsequent filing of multiple COVID-related violations against him.
The Legal Battle
The Crown prosecutors contended that Scott had defied the Public Health Act. However, Scott’s lawyer, Chad Williamson, challenged the validity of the health orders, asserting that they were not reasonable. He emphasized the importance of government-administrated bodies having sound legal advice to ensure the lawful exercise of their powers.
A Question of Legal Authority
Scott expressed his concern about the validity of rules imposed by government authorities. He highlighted the significance of ensuring that the rules imposed upon citizens align with the law, regardless of one’s stance on the matter.
A Turning Point in Alberta
Scott’s acquittal comes against the backdrop of a significant ruling in Alberta regarding COVID mandates. A judge had previously ruled that politicians had violated the province’s health act by making decisions related to COVID mandates without proper authorization.
Implications for Other Cases
LifeSiteNews reported that following the court ruling, the Alberta Crown Prosecutions Service (ACPS) indicated that Albertans currently facing COVID-related charges were unlikely to face conviction, and their charges would likely be stayed. Notably, Scott is not the only one to benefit from this development; Pastors James Coates and Tim Stephens, both previously incarcerated for keeping their churches open, have also had their COVID charges dropped due to the court’s ruling.
A Legal Domino Effect
Scott’s defiance of COVID rules in 2021 had far-reaching consequences. It led to Alberta Chief Justice J. Rooke issuing a blanket order on May 6, 2021, aimed at restricting “illegal” protests against COVID mandates in Alberta. However, this order inadvertently affected others, including Pastor Artur Pawlowski and his brother Dawid. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) later revised the order to apply only to Scott.
A Shifting Landscape
The political landscape in Alberta saw changes, with Danielle Smith taking over as Premier. She made headlines by removing the province’s top doctor, Deena Hinshaw, and the entire Alberta Health Services (AHS) board of directors, who were responsible for overseeing the COVID mandates. Smith also expressed her commitment to reviewing the cases of Christian pastors who had been jailed for defying COVID policies and apologizing to those who faced discrimination based on their vaccine status.
In conclusion, the recent acquittal of Christopher Scott, the café owner who defied COVID mandates, represents a significant turning point in the legal landscape surrounding COVID-related charges in Alberta. This landmark decision has implications not only for Scott but also for other individuals facing similar charges. It highlights the importance of ensuring that government actions align with the law and the significance of legal counsel in upholding citizens’ rights.