Judge Rules Calgary Preacher Acted in Good Faith - Calgary Bylaws Ruled Unconstitutional
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
- December 7, 2009 -
Judge Rules Calgary Preacher Acted in Good Faith
Calgary Bylaws Ruled Unconstitutional
For years, Street Church Ministries has been fighting to have its rights restored. In 2005 and 2006 the ministry applied for, and received, permits to hold church services in Triangle Park. In 2007, the ministry had its permit revoked, allegedly due to noise concerns. The ministry repeatedly claimed that it had never once received a single ticket for exceeding acceptable noise levels. The ministry also repeatedly pointed to written statements by attending officers that, they had "found the ministry to be in compliance with the issued park permits". Today's ruling by Judge A. A. Fradsham has vindicated the ministries claims to innocence.
Judge Fradsham stated, "While finding that the acused acted in good faith, I am concerned by the actions of certain City officials." He further wrote that "the City's attempts, through Bylaw Officers and police officers to limit the scope of the efforts by the accused to minister to his congregants, fall precariously close to being excessive and, to any reasonable observer, an abuse of power."
In reference to the City Bylaws that were deemed of no force or effect and unconstitutional, Judge Fradsham found that some of the bylaws were "impermissibly overboard or vague". The judge further found that these bylaws "infringed the accused's right of freedom of religion". He also found that the bylaws "infringed the accused's right of freedom of expression".
"There are at least eight violations of my Constitutional rights and 2 Bylaws and one provincial law declared to be of no force or effect because of those violations. Hopefully our city officials will take note of this outcome and perhaps this will mean that the City will deal with us differently in the future", stated Artur Pawlowski of Street Church Ministries.
Judge Fradsham finished his 91 page decision summary with this statement, "Does the evidence support a finding of abusive conduct by City of Calgary Bylaw Officers or Police Officers?" The answer? "Yes..."
After years of battling with the City of Calgary to have their rights restored, Street Church Ministries is greatful to have received such a landmark decision and victory for freedom of religion, and freedom of expression.
"We fought and we won. Today, when I heard the words of the Judge, 'I find the accused not guilty of all charges', I thought of all the countless conversations I had with so many different people, telling them the stories of the City's abuse of power, and now we have the courts telling us that we were right from the very beginning. This is truly amazing and a great blessing. This is not only our victory, today's ruling is a victory for all Canadians. Democracy is something that we should all cherish and hold dear. For these rights, our forefathers bled and died all around the world. Now as their successors, we have a responsibility to continue to stand for those rights, since that is what made our country glorious and free. In this growing recession, with so many hurting people, let's join our efforts together to help and save as many Calgarians as possible, and please, let's stop wasting tax payers money on these kinds of battles", proclaimed Pawlowski.
The ministry is inviting all interested parties to join them in a victory champagne (sparkling apple juice) celebration at the steps of City Hall this Wednesday at noon. For more information, please contact Street Church at 403-607-4434.
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