LETHBRIDGE, Alberta (LifeSiteNews) – Outspoken Canadian Christian pastor Artur Pawlowski was sentenced today to 61 days in jail on charges from earlier this year for attending a COVID mandate blockade protest, but he walked out of court a free man as his previous jail time was applied to his sentence.
“A Free Man! The Fight Continues! Praise Jesus,” Pawlowski posted on X (formerly Twitter) today after leaving the courthouse.
The pastor then posted a Bible verse, Psalm 105:15, “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”
Today, Court of King’s Bench of Alberta Justice Gordon Krinke ruled that Pawlowski’s counseling mischief and breaching a release condition charge deserved a 69-day jail sentence. However, as the pastor had already spent a total of 78 days in jail, he was let go.
Krinke said that Pawlowski “accepts responsibility but is not remorseful” and “does not regret his actions or behaviors.” The judge also said during sentencing that Pawlowski must be deterred from any “unlawful” activity.
In May, Pawlowski was found guilty at a trial in which no witnesses were called of mischief and breaching a release order after he gave a sermon to truckers in 2022.
Krinke at the time found Pawlowski guilty of two charges linked to the sermon he gave at a Freedom Convoy-related border protest blockade in February 2022 in Coutts, Alberta.
“I am satisfied Mr. Pawlowski intended to incite the audience to continue the blockade intended to incite protesters to commit mischief,” Krinke ruled at the time.
Crown lawyers wanted Pawlowski to be jailed for nearly a year, but the pastor’s lawyers were asking for a seven-plus-one-day sentence with time served.
Pawlowski is being represented by Sarah Miller of JSS Barristers, who has already “filed a notice to appeal the findings of guilt,” according to the Democracy Fund, which is funding Pawlowski’s legal team.
The pastor and his legal team will now have to decide on whether to appeal today’s sentence.
Pawlowski is the first Albertan to be charged for violating Alberta’s Critical Infrastructure Defence Act (CIDA), which was put in place in 2020 under then-Premier Jason Kenney.
His conviction stems from a sermon he gave in Coutts on February 3, 2022, to a group of truckers and protesters blocking entrance into the U.S. state of Montana.
He told the large crowd of protesters who had gathered in support of the trucker strike to peacefully “hold the line.”
Days later, on February 8, Pawlowski was arrested – for the fifth time – by an undercover SWAT team just before he was slated to speak again to the Coutts protesters.
He was subsequently jailed for nearly three months, which he has said was for speaking out against COVID mandates, the subject of all the Freedom Convoy-related protests.
Pawlowski and his brother Dawid made international headlines after they were arrested in a highway takedown in May 2021 for holding worship services contrary to Alberta’s COVID rules affecting church service capacity limits.
Both spent a total of three nights in solitary confinement.
Light sentence likely due to recent court ruling on COVID mandates and new anti-mandate premier
A recent Alberta court ruling concerning COVID mandates in Alberta saw a judge rule that politicians violated the province’s health act by making decisions regarding COVID mandates without authorization.
As a result, many who were charged for violating COVID health mandates have had their charges dropped.
LifeSiteNews recently reported that considering the above court case, Alberta Crown Prosecutions Service (ACPS) said Albertans currently facing COVID-related charges will not face conviction and will have their charges stayed.
Thus far, café owner Chris Scott, Alberta Pastors James Coates and Tim Stephens, who were both jailed for keeping their churches open under former COVID lockdown-heavy Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s leadership, have had all COVID charges leveled against them dropped due to the court ruling.
After Kenney stepped down from his role as premier and leader of the United Conservative Party, Danielle Smith took over and fired the province’s top doctor, Deena Hinshaw, and the entire Alberta Health Services (AHS) board of directors, all of whom oversaw the COVID mandates.
Smith made headlines last October after promising to look at pardoning Christian pastors who were jailed for violating so-called COVID policies while Kenney was premier and for apologizing to those who were discriminated against for not getting the COVID shots.
“I can apologize right now. I am deeply sorry for anyone who was inappropriately subjected to discrimination as a result of their vaccine status,” Smith said.
Pawlowski has publicly blasted Smith as a “communist” while earlier blaming her for reneging on a supposed promise she would overturn his COVID charges. He also ran against her in the 2023 provincial election, but his new party managed to get only a few hundred votes.
Smith never denied that she spoke with Pawlowski or others jailed under draconian COVID rules but later clarified that she had no authority to issue blanket pardons.
However, in January, Smith said she had asked her senior justice minister to reflect if it is in the “public interest” to uphold charges against people who violated COVID-19 regulations.
Smith was not premier when Pawlowski was charged, and Smith won the leadership of the United Conservative Party (UCP) on a platform that was against COVID mandates after Kenney stepped down due to poor approval ratings.
In December, COVID-related charges levied against Pawlowski in 2020 for feeding the homeless and attending a pro-freedom rally were stayed by Crown prosecutors.