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Charges stayed against Derek Sloan and Henry Hildebrandt over their peaceful pro-freedom protests

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News release from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is pleased to announce that the charges against former MP Derek Sloan and Pastor Henry Hildebrandt for participating in peaceful outdoor protests against lockdowns have been stayed.

On May 8, 2021, former Member of Parliament Derek Sloan attended an outdoor anti-lockdown rally, organized by No More Lockdowns Canada. That rally attracted close to 1,000 participants and included a procession of farm tractors that slow-rolled the 25 km road from the town of Tillsonburg, Ontario, to the town of Norwich.

On May 30, Pastor Hildebrandt participated in a similar outdoor rally in Woodstock, Ontario, attended by an estimated 350 people.

Both rallies were peaceful. There were no criminal charges, only tickets for violating the Reopening Ontario Act, which placed a total ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings during the spring of 2021, although there was no evidence to show that outdoor gatherings were significant contributors to the spread of Covid.

Mr. Sloan had faced charges for participating in peaceful protests across Ontario, in Stratford, St. Thomas, Chatham, and Woodstock. All charges have been either stayed or withdrawn at the request of the respective prosecutors.

One of the most well-known pastors in Ontario, Pastor Hildebrandt exercised his Charter freedoms of expression, association, conscience, religion and peaceful assembly in the face of provincial laws that violated these fundamental freedoms. He spoke at many peaceful outdoor rallies during the lockdowns and was charged more than six times in the first half of 2021 with violating the Reopening Ontario Act.

Pastor Nathaniel Wright of the nearby Crossroads Alliance Church was charged with holding a church service on May 2, 2021. All charges against him were stayed in the same jurisdiction, Woodstock, on February 15, 2024. Pastor Wright was also involved in the resolution of the Trinity Bible Chapel case, where all charges against him were stayed for protests in Kitchener-Waterloo. The Justice Centre provided lawyers to defend these courageous individuals, who received tickets for exercising their Charter freedoms.

All cases involving Mr. Sloan and Pastor Hildebrandt are now resolved.

“The government violated the Charter freedoms of millions of Ontarians with health measures that were based on fear, not science. There is no evidence to support the idea that peaceful outdoor gatherings, rendered illegal by the government, caused any harm,” stated John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre.

Chris Fleury, lawyer to both Mr. Sloan and Pastor Hildebrandt, stated, “While my clients would have preferred not to have been charged in the first place, this is an excellent outcome. With these resolutions, prosecutions under the Reopening Ontario Act are thankfully beginning to come to an end.”

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COVID-19

ArriveCAN charges dropped, shielding the controversial program from constitutional scrutiny

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News release from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms 

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms announces that City of Mississauga prosecutors have withdrawn five charges against four Canadians who refused to comply with ArriveCAN requirements at the Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The withdrawn charges include those against Elim Sly-Hooten of British Columbia. After arriving in Toronto from the Netherlands, Mr. Sly-Hooten felt that his personal medical information should remain private and chose not to disclose his vaccination status via ArriveCAN. In response, Peel Regional Police and Public Health Agency of Canada personnel detained him. Under pressure and without counsel, Mr. Sly-Hooten broke down and revealed his vaccination status. He received a $5,000 ticket for violating the Quarantine Act and was ordered to quarantine in his home for 14 days.

With help from the Justice Centre, Mr. Sly-Hooten launched a constitutional challenge against ArriveCAN, citing his right to liberty, his right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure, his right to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention, and his right to counsel after arrest and detention – all protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Prosecutors also withdrew tickets against Mark Spence, Aaron Grubb, and Evan Kraayenbrink. Like Mr. Sly-Hooten, each were charged for choosing not to provide information via ArriveCAN and were ordered to quarantine for 14 days. Prosecutors have withdrawn the charges because they believe it is not in the public interest to expend further resources on a trial. This outcome follows a similar pattern of ArriveCAN-related charges being dropped before their trials in what appears to be an attempt to shield the controversial program from constitutional scrutiny. In other words, charges are being dropped before the merits of constitutional challenges to ArriveCAN can be heard by the courts.

Beside the constitutional question, ArriveCAN has been dogged by bad publicity since its implementation. Canada Border Services Agency launched ArriveCAN in April 2020 in response to the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global pandemic. Since then, ArriveCAN has cost Canadians an estimated $59.5 million (not counting in-house costs), according to the Auditor General of Canada in her February 12, 2024 performance audit report.

ArriveCAN was mandatory for all air, land, and marine travellers between November 2021 and October 2022. During that time, the program erroneously ordered 10,000 Canadians to quarantine in a significant breach of the Privacy Act, according to a 2023 report from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. The program violated many of the rights and freedoms protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Lawyer Chris Fleury stated, “This outcome is bittersweet for each of our clients. It is positive for each of them personally. On the other hand, they were deeply interested in seeking a determination of the constitutionality of the irrational and unscientific decision forcing unvaccinated Canadians to quarantine. The federal government has again escaped accountability for Covid policy decisions that breached Canadians’ Charter rights.”

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COVID-19

Ontario judge rules in favor of woman who refused COVID nasal swab test

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

‘I do decide that the nasal swab test, which the screening officer in this case required or demanded Ms. Fernando submit to, was an unlawful requirement or demand,’ wrote Ontario Court Justice Paul Monahan in his June 26 ruling.

An Ontario court has ruled in favor of a woman who was charged and convicted for refusing to submit to a COVID nasal swab test upon returning home to Canada in 2022.

In a June 26 ruling, Ontario Court Justice Paul Monahan decided in favor of Canadian woman Meththa Fernando, who was charged in 2022 for refusing a COVID nasal swab test when returning to Canada from abroad and subsequently found guilty. Monahan concluded that in Fernando’s case, requiring her to submit to such an invasive test was unlawful and ordered her conviction be overturned.

“I do decide that the nasal swab test, which the screening officer in this case required or demanded Ms. Fernando submit to, was an unlawful requirement or demand,” wrote Monahan in his ruling.   

“Ms. Fernando’s refusal to comply with the requirement or demand was lawful on her part,” he continued. “Because the requirement or demand made of her by the screening officer was not lawful, Ms. Fernando should not have been found guilty by the Justice of the Peace.”  

Fernando began her legal journey in 2022 when she refused a nasal swab at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario. Upon her return home to nearby Mississauga, a screening officer from the Canadian Public Health Agency randomly selected her to undergo the nasal test.  

However, Fernando, who told the officer she was already vaccinated against COVID, refused the test. She was charged and later convicted of failing to comply with an order under Section 58 of the Quarantine Act and fined a total of $6,255. 

Canada’s Quarantine Act was used by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to enact severe draconian COVID travel rules on all returning travelers to the country. 

Fernando chose to take her case to an appeal court following conviction, arguing that the Quarantine Act did not “authorize a screening officer to use a screening test which involved the entry into the traveller’s body of an instrument or other foreign body.”   

As LifeSiteNews previously reported there have been several instances of injuries after receiving the swabs, including leaking brain fluid due to the test puncturing the brain tissue.   

“The prosecution raised the point that perhaps the insertion into the nasal cavity did not involve the entry into the body,” Monahan stated. “I disagree. The insertion of a nasal swab into the nasal cavity is most definitely an insertion into the body.”  

“I am reversing the Justice of the Peace’s decision and entering a finding of not guilty,” he concluded. “Those are my reasons.”  

Besides potential brain tissue damage, COVID-19 nasal tests have been flagged for seriously questionable accuracy rates. One study authored by British and American scientists last year found that PCR nasal swab testing has only around 63% sensitivity. 

Severalotherstudies, as well as federalguidelines, have identified major accuracy issues with PCR tests and other means of testing for coronavirus. The most common PCR testing protocol for COVID-19 also has come under fire in December, when a coalition of scientists called for the retraction of the original article detailing the method, due to a lack of a properly peer-reviewed report. 

Pro-freedom lawyer Daniel Freiheit celebrated the decision, telling LifeSiteNews, “This ruling is a stark reminder that many laws may have been broken during COVID. I think this was caused by a collective fear of the unknown and a kind of mass panic.” 

“In times like that, it’s utmost to rely on first principles: basic freedoms that I had always been taught would act as checks and balances: freedom to speak, freedom to associate, freedom to deny novel medical treatment, right to retain counsel,” he continued.   

He explained that the ruling will give Canadians a sense of vindication since many knew the tests were invasive and unjust but complied out of fear.  

“Many people knew it was wrong and unlawful at the time but had no choice except to comply,” he said.  

“It was either that or face detainment at the border, harassment, fines, threats of more fines, threats of quarantine, etc,” Freiheit explained. “Submitting to this unlawful treatment was the easiest way out, especially for people coming into the country with medical conditions, tired children or frustrated travel partners.”  

This ruling is not the first time actions taken by the Trudeau government during COVID were found to be unlawful.

In January, the Trudeau government’s use of the Emergencies Act to end the Freedom Convoy protest against COVID mandates was ruled to have violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley.  

According to the January ruling, the EA is meant to be reserved as a last resort if all other means fail. In Mosley’s judgement, this threshold was not met and thus, the Trudeau government violated the rights of Canadians.    

Shortly after the ruling, Trudeau announced that the government was appealing to the Federal Court of Appeal, a court where he has appointed 10 of the 15 judges. 

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