COVID-Related Charges Against Derek Sloan, Randy Hillier, Other Protesters Dropped

by EditorK

 

Ontario MPP Randy Hillier on March 03, 2022 (Screenshot)

By Peter Wilson

Charges have been dropped against several notable individuals, including former MP Derek Sloan, Ontario MPP Randy Hillier, and pastor Heinrich Hildebrandt, who protested COVID-19 health measures during the pandemic, according to the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF).

The protesters, including private citizen Dan Stasko, took part in a peaceful protest against government health measures in Norfolk, Ontario, in June 2021 and were subsequently charged with violating public health orders that had come into effect through the “Reopening Ontario Act.”

“The charges were stayed because the crown prosecutor agreed that it was not in the public interest to proceed because the government no longer has these restrictions in place,” said Henna Parmar, a Justice Centre lawyer, in an email to The Epoch Times.

Last year, the Ontario government implemented strict capacity and attendance limits on certain public spaces, ranging from small businesses to churches.

The Norfolk protest that the four men attended drew a crowd of approximately 200–300 demonstrators, according to the Justice Centre, and the charges levied against Sloan, Hillier, Hildebrandt, and Stasko on account of it carried potential $100,000 fines for each individual along with up to one year in prison each.

For Sloan, Hillier, and Hildebrandt, the protest was not the only occasion for which the Crown pressed charges against them.

The three men were also charged for allegedly violating provisions under the same “Reopening” act in April 2021 when they attended and spoke at a service at the Church of God Restoration in Aylmer, Ontario, CTV News reported.

Hildebrandt posted a video of the service on his YouTube page.

“Usually I stick to political things, but on this morning I would also like to say that I feel blessed and honoured to be here,” Sloan said during the service.

“There is silver linings in every darkness,” Hillier said, referring to the pandemic. “For me, one of those silver linings was just understanding how much, how important, and coming to a recognition that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour.”

In her email to The Epoch Times, Parmar said, “It’s a sad day for our democracy when even members of parliament are being prosecuted for peacefully protesting and raising the concerns of their constituents.”

“We believe that all protests should be allowed, no matter the cause, as long as it’s peaceful. We have a voice, and our voice is incredibly powerful. Limiting our right to protest can cause our voice to fall silent.”

In separate charges laid against Hillier, the Crown alleged that the independent MPP assaulted a public officer at the Freedom Convoy protest in Ottawa, as well as obstructed or resisted a public officer and someone aiding the officer, counselled an uncommitted indictable offence three times, and twice committed mischief or property obstruction with damages over $5,000, according to the CBC.

Hillier turned himself in to Ottawa police after being made aware of the charges and was granted bail with the condition that he remain out of downtown Ottawa and not contact any Freedom Convoy organizers.

Peter Wilson is a reporter based in Ontario, Canada.

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