Pastor James Coates will be spending at least another weekend in jail.
Alberta’s provincial court issued a news release Thursday contradicting a claim from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), which is representing the GraceLife Church pastor.
The JCCF on Wednesday said it expected Coates to be released from jail this week after reaching an agreement with the Crown to withdraw one of the charges Coates faced for violating COVID-19 restrictions.
The organization said it expected the case would be dealt with Friday, which would have allowed Coates to preach at GraceLife this Sunday.
But on Thursday, Alberta’s provincial court said: “Contrary to reports that have been circulated by parties involved in the case, there will be no court proceedings involving James Coates on March 19, 2021.”
The court confirmed the case is next in court Monday.
JCCF president John Carpay said he did not expect the scheduling changes anything legally, but added it is “unfortunate” Coates will remain locked up over the weekend.
Coates faced two charges under the Public Health Act for holding in-person worship services that violated restrictions on occupancy and social distancing. He was also charged criminally for allegedly failing to comply with his bail conditions. Coates has been in the Edmonton Remand Centre since mid-February.
At least one of the Public Health Act charges is expected to proceed to trial in Stony Plain this May. The Crown has not commented on the JCCF’s statements.