TDF files written materials seeking leave to appeal decision convicting Edmonton church and pastor

 Alberta Pastor Tracy Fortin seeks leave to appeal obstruction conviction and a fine of $80,000.

EDMONTON: The Democracy Fund (TDF) has filed written materials with the Alberta Court of Appeal seeking leave to appeal a lower court decision that saw Pastor Tracy Fortin and Church on the Vine convicted of obstruction charges and fined $80,000. The fines relate to allegations that the pastor refused to allow a health inspector entry into the church sanctuary during a religious service during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Fortin and the Church were convicted after a trial in April of last year. While TDF-funded lawyer James Kitchen argued that the inspector’s actions breached Fortin’s right to freedom of religion, the court refused a hearing on that issue.

Kitchen, whom TDF has now retained for the leave application, argues the court erred in dismissing Fortin’s Charter application without an evidentiary hearing. He states this error will have “broad impacts…for years to come.”

Aside from the Charter issue, Kitchen argues the court erred in taking judicial notice of certain unproven facts with respect to the spread of COVID-19 when it came to sentencing Fortin. He also argues that the $80,000 fine was not a fit and just sentence in the circumstances of this case.

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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 an access to justice initiative for Canadians whose civil liberties have been infringed by government lockdowns and other public policy responses to the pandemic.