In a plot twist worthy of a blockbuster movie, it seems that Artur Pawlowski’s jail sentence may have turned into a peculiar cost-saving opportunity. One can’t help but wonder, did Pastor Pawlowski inadvertently discover a way to cut down on his living expenses? After all, who needs to pay rent when you’ve got a cozy jail cell? More on this below. Keep reading.
In a surprising turn of events, Canadian Christian pastor Artur Pawlowski was sentenced to 61 days in jail for his involvement in a COVID mandate blockade protest earlier this year. However, what makes this case even more intriguing is that Pawlowski walked out of the courtroom a free man, thanks to his previous jail time being applied to his sentence.
The Controversial Verdict
Pawlowski expressed his jubilation at his release by posting on social media, stating, “A Free Man! The Fight Continues! Praise Jesus.” This exclamation of freedom was accompanied by a powerful Bible verse from Psalm 105:15, “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”
The Court of King’s Bench of Alberta, presided over by Justice Gordon Krinke, ruled that Pawlowski should receive a 69-day jail sentence for counseling mischief and breaching a release condition. However, due to the 78 days he had already spent in jail, he was set free.
Krinke’s statements during the sentencing shed light on the complexity of the case. He mentioned that Pawlowski accepted responsibility for his actions but showed no remorse or regret for them. The judge emphasized the need to deter Pawlowski from engaging in any further “unlawful” activities.
Past Legal Battles
This recent verdict adds to Pawlowski’s legal woes. In May, he was found guilty of mischief and breaching a release order, stemming from a sermon he delivered to truckers in 2022. The sermon, given during a Freedom Convoy-related protest blockade in Coutts, Alberta, led to his conviction.
Justice Krinke’s ruling at the time indicated that Pawlowski intended to incite the audience to continue the blockade and provoke protesters to commit mischief. Crown lawyers had sought nearly a year of imprisonment, while Pawlowski’s defense argued for a seven-plus-one-day sentence, considering time served.
Pawlowski’s legal representation, Sarah Miller of JSS Barristers, has already filed a notice to appeal the guilty verdict, backed by the Democracy Fund, which supports Pawlowski’s legal team.
Challenging the Alberta’s Critical Infrastructure Defence Act
Pawlowski’s case is significant as he is the first Albertan to face charges under Alberta’s Critical Infrastructure Defence Act (CIDA), enacted in 2020 during the tenure of then-Premier Jason Kenney. The charges stem from his sermon in Coutts on February 3, 2022, addressing a group of truckers and protesters blocking the entrance into Montana.
Pawlowski urged the protesters to “peacefully hold the line” during the trucker strike, which ultimately led to his arrest on February 8, 2022, by an undercover SWAT team. He spent nearly three months in jail, attributing his imprisonment to his vocal opposition to COVID mandates, a central issue in the Freedom Convoy-related protests.
Recent Court Ruling and Its Impact
A recent Alberta court ruling regarding COVID mandates in the province has had a cascading effect. The ruling stated that politicians had violated the province’s health act by making decisions on COVID mandates without proper authorization. Consequently, many facing COVID-related charges have seen those charges dropped.
Prominent figures like café owner Chris Scott and Alberta Pastors James Coates and Tim Stephens, who were previously jailed for keeping their churches open during the COVID lockdowns, had their charges dropped due to this ruling.
The change in leadership in Alberta, with Danielle Smith taking over as premier, brought about further developments. Smith, who promised to consider pardoning Christian pastors jailed under COVID policies, apologized to those who faced discrimination for not getting vaccinated.
Pawlowski, however, criticized Smith as a “communist” and accused her of reneging on a promise to overturn his COVID charges. He even ran against her in the 2023 provincial election but garnered only minimal support.
Smith clarified that she had no authority to issue blanket pardons, and her focus was on assessing the “public interest” in upholding charges against those who violated COVID-19 regulations.
The legal journey for Artur Pawlowski continues to unfold, marked by controversy and a broader debate surrounding COVID mandates and their enforcement in Alberta.
Hot Take: It appears that Pastor Pawlowski might be the unexpected champion of frugal living, turning jail time into a money-saving strategy. Move over, real estate market; there’s a new housing trend in town!