The lawyer for a Kelowna, B.C., pastor appeared in court Monday to appeal the pastor’s guilty verdict for violating public health orders.
Art Lucier, pastor at Kelowna Harvest Church was issued a $2,300 violation ticket for hosting an organized event in January of 2021, contrary to public health orders.
At the time of Lucier’s offences, all in-person events and community-based gatherings, including religious in-person gatherings and worship services, were prohibited.
Lucier’s lawyer argued that church groups across the province faced scrutiny throughout the course of the pandemic restrictions, while stating other venues such as restaurants, sporting venues and shopping centres didn’t.
He added that the restrictions went against several of Lucier’s rights by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.
He also attempted to build his case by bringing up several instances where churches and other protesters who refused to follow public health orders had their fines or charges dropped.
The judge insisted he was unsure why Lucier was looking to appeal his fine, when he knew “full well he was defying public health orders in the first place,” to which the lawyer responded by saying his client “chose to breach first, and challenge later.”
The appeal hearing continues on Tuesday at the Kelowna courthouse.
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