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Judge rules in favor of Canadian pastor jailed for holding services during lockdown

Artur Pawlowski, the Canadian pastor who was jailed for holding church services during Alberta’s pandemic lockdown, has won a major victory in court.

An Alberta appeals court panel ruled that the health agency’s order restraining “illegal public gatherings” was “not sufficiently clear and unambiguous” as to apply to the Pawlowski.

“The Pawlowskis’ appeals are allowed. The finding of contempt and the sanction order are set aside. The fines that have been paid by them are to be reimbursed,” the three-member panel wrote in their 16-page ruling. The court ordered Alberta Health Services, the province’s health agency, to reimburse Pawlowski for his legal costs, as well as the fines levied against him.

Pawlowski, the minister of Calgary Street Church, was arrested in dramatic fashion in the middle of a busy highway on May 8 last year (video below) as he was driving home from church, where his congregation had gathered without masks in violation of public health orders. Both Pawlowski and his brother were charged with organizing an illegal in-person gathering, as well as “requesting, inciting or inviting others” to participate with them.



“It’s a slam dunk-win,” attorney Sarah Miller tweeted. “The Court of Appeal made a unanimous, sound decision and overturned the finding of contempt made against my client.”

Since 2020, Pawlowski has repeatedly been arrested, fined, and jailed as he continued to defy and protest Alberta’s stringent pandemic restrictions. In December, 2020, Pawlowski was providing grilled steak to homeless people in Calgary when he was approached by police, who issued him a $1,200 fine.

In February, Pawlowski was jailed for weeks, reportedly spending 23 hours a day in solitary confinement at the Calgary Remand Centre after speaking to truckers with the Freedom Convoy, who were protesting vaccine mandates at the U.S.-Canada border.

“I can feel your prayers, and they keep me strong,” the pastor said from jail. “God allows me to be here for a witness to the entire world, to show what happens when you kick God out of your nation. Lawlessness, injustice, abuse of power and corruption crept in.”