EDMONTON – An Alberta pastor who was jailed for violating COVID-19 restrictions will be released.
A judge has allowed James Coates from GraceLife church to go free after spending 35 days in jail. Coates will be forced to pay a fine of $1,500.
Coates agreed to plead guilty to the charge of disobeying a court order after he was told to stop holding large church gatherings after first receiving a penalty from Alberta Health Services (AHS).
However, two other counts relating to the public health order have been dropped.
The judge did not agree to a smaller fine of $100 and said he wanted to make a statement about people who continue to disobey public health orders.
WATCH: Alberta pastor jailed for breaking health protocols will remain behind bars for at least another night
Coates was in prison after refusing to abide by a bail condition that he not lead services at the church.
A trial on the charge of breaching the Alberta Public Health Act is set for May.