A Canadian court has awarded a major legal win to Artur Pawlowski, the pastor who was arrested and jailed for holding a church service during Alberta’s lockdown.
Pawlowski, the minister of Calgary Street Church, was arrested by Calgary police in dramatic fashion in the middle of a busy highway on May 8 last year 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 Dawid Pawlowski were charged with organizing an illegal in-person gathering, as well as “requesting, inciting or inviting others” to participate with them.
Later in October, a judge found them in contempt of Alberta’s May 6 health order. That judge also slapped a sanction on the pastor, mandating that whenever he publicly spoke about Alberta’s pandemic restrictions, Pawlowski must add a government-approved statement saying that most medical experts support social distancing, face masks, and vaccines.
However, on Friday, an Alberta appeals court panel ruled that the Alberta health agency’s order restraining “illegal public gatherings” was “not sufficiently clear and unambiguous” as to apply to the Pawlowskis.
“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’s lawyer celebrating the win in a statement on Twitter.
“It’s a slam dunk win. The Court of Appeal made a unanimous, sound decision and overturned the finding of contempt made against my client,” attorney Sarah Miller tweeted.
Since 2020, Pawlowski has been repeatedly 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.
Shocking videos of Canadian police arresting the pastor over and over again have gone viral and sparked outrage over social media.
Tomorrow I have another trial in Calgary! I am personally facing a $100,000 ticket for feeding the homeless during the greatest crisis we have ever seen in our country.
The trial is in Calgary courthouse in room 1005, 9am, Monday the 6, 2022 pic.twitter.com/mY18v9gWxe
— Artur Pawlowski (@ArturPawlowski1) June 5, 2022
▪️Pawlowski had called police officers “Nazis” previously.pic.twitter.com/eYwphDgfFR
— EHA News (@eha_news) January 2, 2022
Pastor Artur Pawlowski’s Lawyer: Next steps on “fair hearing” after arrest for contempt order@ATSoos interviews Pastor Artur Pawlowski’s lawyer Sarah Miller to find out more about the team working on his case.
— Rebel News (@RebelNewsOnline) May 10, 2021
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.
“He was placed in what he described as like a dog kennel, but it was like a cage, sort of like what you have in a police van; those really thin, small cages with very little air circulation. So he was placed in one of those for hours on end twice,” said Pawlowski’s son, Nathaniel Pawlowski.
“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 creeped in.”
Pawlowski also went viral during Holy Week last year over video of him demanding that police leave his church.
He has also spoken with U.S. lawmakers, warning that some governments are beginning to look like communist Poland, which he fled when he was a young man.