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Resolve questions the court’s role in managing public health orders to ban church gatherings

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Resolve questions the court’s role in managing public health orders to ban church gatherings

Province seeks injunction against three Fraser Valley churches claiming restrictions on in-individual non secular products and companies are justified to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Early Newspaper
A lawsuit filed in January pits a series of Christian churches against B.C.’s provincial health officer. The churches inform Henry is violating their constitutional rights. Henry claims those freedoms are now not absolute. (Gerald Herbert/Associated Press)

The chief justice of the British Columbia Supreme Courtroom says the attorney overall is putting the court in an “now not doable jam” by asking for an injunction ordering three churches to stop in-individual non secular products and companies until their project of public health orders is heard.

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson says public health orders already restrict such gatherings and or now not it’s within the vitality of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and the executive to escalate enforcement without a court describe. 

“There are alternate cures,” Hinkson told Crown prosecutor Gareth Morley during the hearing on Friday.

“I need to now not be doing Dr. Henry’s job. If she wants police to own the potential to arrest of us, the describe is also amended, can’t it?”

The injunction examine by the provincial health officer and attorney overall comes after the churches filed a petition that challenges COVID-19 restrictions on in-individual non secular products and companies, arguing the ban violates of us’s rights and freedoms.

They inform a complete lot of structure violations including freedom of religion, belief, expression, mild assembly and affiliation. 

Lawyer Paul Jaffe, who represents the churches, told the court his clients own adopted safety protocols identical to those current by Henry in buildings that remain commence, admire colleges. 

The province argues that restrictions on in-individual non secular products and companies are the most necessary to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, which might per chance perhaps moreover overwhelm B.C.’s health-care machine. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

He stated it doesn’t develop sense that individuals are allowed to gather to gain yoga or to scrutinize history, but now not talk about God.

According to the court documents, the province is seeking an describe that might per chance perhaps well prevent elders and participants from gathering to admire in their churches and from organizing celebrations, ceremonies, baptisms, funerals or any other “event” as defined by Henry’s orders.

The describe would moreover authorize police to detain anybody they own grounds to imagine is planning to abet a non secular provider organized by any of the three churches.

 Jaffe argued that if customers are allowed to attain and spin freely at a Langley strip mall, so might per chance perhaps moreover mild those attending a non secular provider in the identical advanced.

“The conception they is also arrested for intending to pray is incredible,” he stated. “It is incredible that any court can think about imparting the police with that kind of vitality.” 

He described the injunction application as “punitive” and “vindictive” when the court hearing is less than three weeks away. 

Then again, Morley argued existing restrictions on worshippers don’t seem to be working and a court describe might per chance perhaps moreover add weight and give protection to the public. 

There is “no inquire” that gatherings in the coming weeks originate an ongoing inconvenience to public health, he stated.

“They own every exact to project the public health orders, but they gain now not own an proper now not to abide by them in the interim.” 

Hinkson requested Morley what the executive deliberate to gain if it were granted a court injunction against the churches. He illustrious a most up-to-date case where an injunction against protesters became given to the Vancouver Port Authority, but the public prosecution provider declined to enforce the describe, saying it wasn’t in the public interest to gain so.

“If we’re being requested to gain these things and then we’re told or now not it’s now not in the public interest to enforce our orders, I would now not grant orders,” the pick stated.

The pick is scheduled to render a call on the injunction examine Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. 

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Resolve questions the court’s role in managing public health orders to ban church gatherings