A Bowden-area couple facing a charge under the Public Health Act for holding a rodeo last May will be going to trial. (Advocate file photo)

Fall trial set for Bowden couple charged for holding anti-lockdown rodeo

Rodeo organizers have pleaded not guilty to violating Public Health Act

A Bowden-area couple accused of violating the Public Health Act by hosting a two-day rodeo that attracted thousands last May will go to trial this fall.

Ty and Gail Northcott were served a summons on May 10, 2021 for violating Section 73(1) of the Public Health Act for holding their “No More Lockdowns” rodeo on private land near Bowden on May 1-2 in contravention of health restrictions in place at the time prohibiting large public gatherings.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) later said one COVID-19 case had been connected to the event.

The Northcotts pleaded not guilty and were to go to trial on Dec. 21. However, that was adjourned because their new lawyer, Steven Whitehead, of Calgary, was not available.

Appearing remotely in Red Deer provincial court on Tuesday, Whitehead told Judge Robin Snider that he planned to make constitutional and Charter of Rights and Freedoms arguments on behalf of his clients.

Organizers of anti-lockdown rodeo plead not guilty

There was some discussion in court whether two or three days would be needed for the trial.

Crown prosecutor Peter Mackenzie said he expected he only needed about three hours to make his case and it was agreed to set aside two days for trial.

The Northcotts had planned a second event called the “No More Jason Kenney Pro Rodeo Rally” that was set for June 5-6. That event was postponed after a judge granted Alberta Health Services (AHS) an injunction prohibiting the gathering.

In a Facebook post announcing the postponement, the Northcotts said the May event had attracted more than 3,000 people.

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