Chris Scott of the Whistle Stop Café acquitted of charges following higher court decision

The defiant restaurateur has been acquitted of breaching public health orders. 

TORONTO: Christ Scott, the owner of the Whistle Stop Café, has finally been acquitted of violating public health orders after almost two years of uncertainty and a legal battle that pulled out all the stops.  

Scott was charged with seven violations of the Public Health Act and one violation of the Gaming Liquor and Cannabis Act early in 2021 for refusing to close his restaurant during the pandemic. If convicted, he faced the possibility of imprisonment.  

The Democracy Fund (TDF) retained Williamson Law to defend Scott against his charges.

The decision to acquit Scott came on the heels of the Ingram decision, which was released at the end of last month. In that decision, Justice Romaine of the Court of King’s Bench ruled that public health orders made during the pandemic were outside the jurisdiction of the Public Health Act because they were made by members of the Alberta cabinet instead of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Scott’s trial commenced prior to the release of Ingram but was adjourned in the middle of a defence cross-examination to allow Scott to seek disclosure of approximately 1000 pages of email correspondence that Alberta Health Services failed to disclose. After reviewing the disclosed documentation, Scott’s lawyers filed a Charter application alleging Scott was targeted for prosecution because of his outspoken disapproval of government action.

“Scott may have been convicted if he had a less tenacious legal team,” says Alan Honner, TDF’s litigation director. “The delay caused by Scott’s disclosure application ultimately gave the defence the benefit of the Ingram decision, which led to Scott’s acquittal.”  

This victory would not be possible without the generous support of TDF donors. You can help people like Chris Scott by making a tax-deductible donation to support TDF.

About The Democracy Fund:

Founded in 2021, The Democracy Fund (TDF) is a Canadian charity dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty. TDF promotes constitutional rights through litigation and public education. TDF supports access to justice initiatives for Canadians whose civil liberties have been infringed by government lockdowns and other public policy responses to the pandemic.

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