BC Pastor John Koopman is challenging the prosecution against him, claiming that Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Provincial Health Officer, displayed preferential treatment towards certain faith groups during the pandemic.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) announced their support for Pastor Koopman’s challenge, which is set for a hearing at the Abbotsford Law Courts from December 4-7, 2023.
Pastor Koopman faces charges for violating Covid gathering restrictions while questioning why some Orthodox synagogues received permission for both outdoor and indoor services.
The hearing will seek records of accommodation requests to Dr. Henry and communications with BC politicians regarding worship service restrictions.
The Free Reformed Church, led by Pastor Koopman, adhered to health orders but challenged the prohibition on in-person worship services. Despite submitting accommodation requests that went unanswered for weeks, Dr. Henry allegedly granted permissions to Orthodox synagogues.
The court previously dismissed the Church’s constitutional challenge, citing Dr. Henry’s outdoor permission.
“However, earlier that same week, Dr. Henry had granted all Orthodox synagogues in the province permission to gather indoors,” the JFFC stated.
Lawyer says Dr. Henry’s actions during the pandemic were “frankly shameful”
Pastor Koopman was found guilty of hosting an in-person service on December 6, 2020. He subsequently submitted an abuse of process application, alleging discriminatory actions by Dr. Henry.
The Crown argued against an evidentiary hearing, but the court denied the summary dismissal, finding evidence that Dr. Henry favoured some faith groups.
The upcoming hearing aims to compel Dr. Henry to provide records of accommodation requests and communications with BC officials.
Lawyer Marty Moore argues that Dr. Henry’s actions during the pandemic were “frankly shameful” and that the prosecution offends societal notions of fairness.
Last month, the United Health Care Workers of BC launched a Class Action lawsuit against Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer, asserting that mandatory vaccination orders have resulted in significant harm to unionized health care workers.