LIVE UPDATES: Pastor Coates on trial today for violating public health orders

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Rebel News reporter Sheila Gunn Reid is watching and live-tweeting the first day the trial of Pastor James Coates, who allegedly violated public health orders by not limiting his GraceLife Church congregation.

Coates is represented by Leighton Grey and James Kitchen of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. 

Here’s what Sheila is live-tweeting now:

Side note: lawyer for JCCF repping Coates, James Kitchen, is not wearing a mask. Had to explain to the court that he was medically exempt. Judge reminds him that he can attend remotely. Kitchen declines.

Court room is at capacity

First witness in Coates trial: Janine Hanrahan from Alberta Health Services – she’s a health inspector. Been on the job 8 years. 2.5 with AHS.

Going through her ed experience now.

AHS inspector Janine Hanrahan says that she responded to GraceLife Church based on complaints about non-compliance at the church first on November 22nd 2020.

AHS’s Hanrahan says she made recommendations to Coates after entering the church for an inspection ON A SUNDAY (?)

Says she saw people not social distancing, no masks, over capacity. Saw evidence of sanitization supplies.

Coates told her he didn’t want to police congregation

Next visit to GraceLife from AHS inspector Hanrahan during church services came Dec 13. This time she brought with her RCMP, for some reason.

She says she saw groups of people visiting in lobby.

She complains that people were videotaping the RCMP that day.

AHS’s Hanrahan says she went to the balcony to observe the number of people in the sanctuary.

She points out the music ministry wasn’t wearing face masks when they sang from the stage.

(This indicates Hanrahan was inside the church disrupting a religious service in progress)

Hanrahan did not meet with Coates during her disruption of the Dec 13 services at GraceLife

Court playing video now as evidence. Vid taken by AHS inspector hand when she visited the church on December 13, 2020 and interrupted services along with RCMP officers she requested to accompany her.

Vid is of a robust GraceLife congregation singing in sanctuary.

Hanrahan testifies GraceLife was issued a work order on Dec 17 by AHS compelling them to operate within a covid mitigation plan and bring the church up to compliance.

[Hanrahan] testifies she saw no evidence of compliance on Dec 20 2020 – another Sunday inspection with cops

December 20th, Hanrahan testifies that GraceLife elders reminded her and the RCMP that it is a criminal offense to disrupt a church.

She didn’t seem to heed their protestations.

However she put away her camera at this visit.

Hanrahan says she was told repeatedly that it is a criminal offense to disrupt a church service on Dec 20th.

She testifies she told GraceLife elders & Coates that it wasn’t her intent to disrupt service.

(Me: But that’s actually what you do when you show up with two cops)

Hanrahan is testifying that she saw people touching each other in the lobby of the church on December 20th.

She didn’t enter the sanctuary but she did observe it from the balcony at 1045 am.

(That’s during GraceLife’s Bible study. So she interrupted a religious service)

December 20th the GraceLife congregation showed appreciation and offered applause for the RCMP who accompanied AHS inspector Hanrahan.

Hanrahan is now testifying about things she eavesdropped on at GraceLife.

Says she overheard someone call Hinshaw a dictator and said Kenney is hiding behind her. She didn’t hear pandemic denial however she did hear people say the pandemic isn’t going away.

Hanrahan said she left because people started to sing at the Church. Says she didn’t want to potentially get covid

Defense is done with AHS inspector Hanrahan.

Leighton Grey for the JCCF will cross-examine her after a short break

More to come…