A Canadian court has awarded a major legal win to Artur Pawlowski, the pastor who was arrested and jailed for holding a church service during Alberta’s lockdown.
Pawlowski, the minister of Calgary Street Church, was arrested by Calgary police in dramatic fashion in the middle of a busy highway on May 8 last year as he was driving home from church, where his congregation had gathered without masks in violation of public health orders.
Both Pawlowski and his brother Dawid Pawlowski were charged with organizing an illegal in-person gathering, as well as “requesting, inciting or inviting others” to participate with them.
Later in October, a judge found them in contempt of Alberta’s May 6 health order. That judge also slapped a sanction on the pastor, mandating that whenever he publicly spoke about Alberta’s pandemic restrictions, Pawlowski must add a government-approved statement saying that most medical experts support social distancing, face masks, and vaccines.
However, on Friday, an Alberta appeals court panel ruled that the Alberta health agency’s order restraining “illegal public gatherings” was “not sufficiently clear and unambiguous” as to apply to the Pawlowskis.
“The Pawlowskis’ appeals are allowed. The finding of contempt and the sanction order are set aside. The fines that have been paid by them are to be reimbursed,” the three-member panel wrote in their 16-page ruling.
The court ordered Alberta Health Services, the province’s health agency, to reimburse Pawlowski for his legal costs, as well as the fines levied against him.
Pawlowski’s lawyer celebrating the win in a statement on Twitter.
“It’s a slam dunk win. The Court of Appeal made a unanimous, sound decision and overturned the finding of contempt made against my client,” attorney Sarah Miller tweeted.
Since 2020, Pawlowski has been repeatedly arrested, fined, and jailed as he continued to defy and protest Alberta’s stringent pandemic restrictions.
In December, 2020, Pawlowski was providing grilled steak to homeless people in Calgary when he was approached by police, who issued him a $1,200 fine.
Shocking videos of Canadian police arresting the pastor over and over again have gone viral and sparked outrage over social media.
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