EDMONTON — A judge has ruled that an Alberta pastor will remain in jail until his trial because he refuses to follow a bail condition that requires he comply with public health orders.
James Coates with GraceLife Church, west of Edmonton, has been in jail for more than two weeks and was appealing his bail conditions.
Coates is charged with violating Alberta’s Public Health Act and with breaking a promise to abide by conditions of his bail release, which is a Criminal Code offence.
The judge says the public health law remains valid and enforceable against the pastor.
The trial is set for May.
Coates’s lawyer James Kitchen argued that Coates can’t follow a bail condition that forbids him from holding services, because it would violate the pastor’s conscience by disobeying God.
A prosecutor argued that the pastor’s release is a danger to the public.
GraceLife church has been holding services that officials say break public-health orders on attendance, masking and distancing.