N.S. Court docket of Attraction guidelines injunction on COVID protest shouldn’t have been granted

N.S. Court docket of Attraction guidelines injunction on COVID protest shouldn’t have been granted

The Nova Scotia Court docket of Attraction has dominated a decrease court docket decide went too far final yr when he banned protests in opposition to COVID-19 measures at a listening to that proceeded with out the protesters current.

The unique sweeping court docket order was granted by provincial Supreme Court docket Justice Scott Norton on Could 14, 2021, the day earlier than three outside gatherings had been deliberate to protest public well being restrictions introduced on by the pandemic.

The decide successfully banned public gatherings deliberate for the subsequent day, basing the choice on proof from the province’s chief medical officer of well being that the outside gatherings would unfold COVID-19.

Learn extra:

Canadian Civil Liberties Affiliation difficult Nova Scotia COVID-19 protest ban

The Canadian Civil Liberties Affiliation, represented by lawyer Nasha Nijhawan, later appealed the order, arguing it was too broad and permitting it to face can be a violation of Constitution rights.

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A panel of three Attraction Court docket judges unanimously sided with the civil liberties group, ruling right this moment that Norton was unsuitable to grant the ban with out opponents with the ability to attend the listening to.

In his written causes, Justice Joel Fichaud famous that whereas not all of the potential protesters’ names had been recognized, some might have been notified by the province in regards to the listening to.

The lawyer normal had named Amy Brown, Tasha Everett, Dena Churchill, the group Freedom Nova Scotia, and “John Doe” and “Jane Doe” of their software to cease the protests. Fichaud wrote there have been various methods to the recognized organizers, starting from Fb Messenger to cell telephones.

“The ‘discover’ needn’t be private service,” says the choice, citing earlier circumstances that discovered “any discover is healthier than none,”
and suggesting it could have been attainable to easily phone the events recognized to be organizing the occasions in query.

Learn extra:

Nova Scotia injunction blocking protests ‘unjustifiable’ restrict on expression: CCLA

Fichaud additionally wrote that the injunction granted below these circumstances ought to have been for a restricted time, which didn’t happen.

“The lawyer normal widened the injunction’s requested scope to incorporate everybody in Nova Scotia gathered for any goal. The decide didn’t deal with whether or not the proof glad the factors for an injunction of that limitless breadth,” Fichaud wrote.

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Justice Peter Bryson mentioned that as a result of the opponents weren’t current, arguments about potential Constitution violations of the precise to peaceable meeting and freedom of expression weren’t heard or scheduled to be heard.

Justice Duncan Beveridge mentioned all three Attraction Court docket judges agree the decrease court docket decide “erred by not contemplating the affect on Constitution rights” of issuing the injunction.

Learn extra:

Nova Scotia decide points short-term injunction to cease weekend anti-mask rallies

Cara Zwibel, a spokesperson for the Canadian Civil Liberties Affiliation, mentioned in an e mail that the choice is a “a robust sign to governments and courts throughout Canada that the Constitution can’t be ignored when responding to pressing public coverage points.”

Premier Tim Houston mentioned Wednesday that it’s too early to say whether or not the federal government will enchantment the court docket’s ruling. Nonetheless, Houston wasn’t important of the actions of the previous Liberal authorities, which sought the injunction.

“At that time limit, governments had a collective accountability to maintain individuals protected, and I do know that’s what the intention of the federal government was,” Houston mentioned on the legislature.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Oct. 26, 2022.

— With information from Keith Doucette in Halifax

&copy 2022 The Canadian Press

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