LEGAL VICTORY: New Brunswick pastors win again in battling COVID lockdown tyranny!

We are thrilled to announce that two New Brunswick pastors have defeated a government motion to put them into contempt of court for holding church services in a commercial tent during COVID-19 lockdowns that banned indoor public gatherings.

In the fall of 2021, Pastors Phillip Hutchings and Cody Butler were bound by a court order requiring them to make “all reasonable efforts” to comply with mandatory health orders, including the order banning indoor public gatherings.

With your help, we retained Jonathan Martin to defend the pastors.

After hearing the legal argument from Martin, the court concluded that it could not “clearly and unequivocally” conclude that the commercial tent met the definition of a public indoor space as described in the mandatory order. 

Nor could Chief Justice Tracey K. DeWare, who heard the contempt motion, conclude that the pastors knew they were breaching the mandatory health orders.

According to the Chief Justice, an “alternative and reasonable point of view can be that the Respondents moved their church services to the commercial tent in an attempt to avoid the restrictions on ‘public indoor space’ and therefore avoid breaching the Mandatory Order.”

As you may know, Phillip Hutchings and Cody Butler are no strangers to legal proceedings.

They previously persuaded the New Brunswick Court of Appeal that a contempt finding against them should be vacated for reasonable apprehension of bias.

More recently, charges of obstruction and disobeying health orders were dropped against the pastors in November 2022 after they filed a constitutional application challenging the legality of the health orders. 

You can click here to read our official news release and a copy of the court decision. 

Thank you for your support,

The Democracy Fund