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(LifeSiteNews) – The head of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) recently described in detail his nearly full day spent in a Calgary jail after being arrested for having a Manitoba judge followed in 2021 during the height of the COVID crisis.

In an extensive commentary posted by the Western Standard on January 6, John Carpay made clear that while his stay in jail was “unpleasant,” he could have “suffered far, far worse,” like the Canadian pastors and Freedom Convoy leader Tamara Lich, who were all jailed for much longer.

LifeSiteNews contacted Carpay for comment, but he referred to the full account published by the Western Standard as reference for this report.

The JCCF said Carpay was made aware on December 30 that the Winnipeg Police had issued an arrest warrant for him over the 2021 incident in which he had hired a private investigator to keep tabs on a judge after receiving tips that the judge had been flouting COVID rules.

Carpay took a two-month leave of absence from his role as JCCF president in early July 2021 after admitting he had Chief Justice Glenn Joyal of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench and other government officials followed by a private investigator to see whether they were breaking local COVID rules.

In Canada, according to Investigation Hotline, hiring a private detective is legal as long as certain rules are followed and the investigator is licensed to practice in the province where the investigation takes place.

The JCCF noted that after Carpay turned himself in to Calgary Police, he was “held in jail for 23 hours in an isolated cell without a cot, mattress, blanket, or even a pillow.”

In his account of his jail experience, Carpay wrote that after arriving at the jail, a man named “Mr. Weir and another Calgary Police Service detective, both wearing plainclothes, but each armed with a revolver, and a third police officer in uniform” were the people who greeted him.

He said he was assured by Weir that he would be home soon after he made an appearance before a Justice of the Peace.

Carpay noted that he was not handcuffed but “asked to put my hands on a wall while they searched me for weapons.”

“I had none, of course,” Carpay said.

“Not having ever gone through this process before, I naively inquired whether I could take my computer in with me to get some work done while waiting.”

Carpay then said the cops “kept a straight face while saying ‘no,’ but I now wonder if they were laughing on the inside about my request.”

He was forced to leave his computer and bag in the vehicle he drove to the prison. He was given a short medical exam before being placed in his cell, where he remained for hours not knowing what time it was.

“I was led into a concrete cell, about 12 feet by 12 feet. Bright fluorescent lights on the ceiling were on 24 hours a day. There was a concrete ‘bench’ or seating place along the back wall, not separate from the wall. White walls and a gray floor; the bench was also gray. There was a toilet and sink (but no toilet paper) and a video surveillance camera on the ceiling to ensure lack of privacy,” Carpay wrote.

He then noted that he was allowed to make a phone call from a locked phone booth.

Of this experience, Carpay gave some advice to younger generations who might not have phone numbers memorized.

“A note to the young: It pays to have phone numbers memorized if ever you land in jail. You won’t have your phone with you and can only call people whose phone numbers you can recall,” he wrote.

After making a call to his wife and lawyer, Carpay was given a sandwich to eat, which was “pushed through a hole in the door of my cell.”

“Meat and cheese on white bread. I gave it a seven or eight out of 10,” Carpay said.

Having to spend the night behind bars

Later in the day, Carpay was again taken out of his cell to get some fingerprints done. It was at this point in the day when things began to turn south.

Carpay said he was, to his “grave disappointment,” told the Justice of the Peace “only sits through to midnight, and that there was no way that I would get an appearance before then.”

“I would have to spend the night in the cell,” he noted, adding this meant a special family gathering he had planned for the next day would have to be canceled.

Carpay noted that he had been “reassured repeatedly by Calgary Police on Friday, December 30 that I would be released promptly after turning myself in.”

“I had a terrible night, trying to sleep on concrete without a cot, mattress, pillow or blanket. The bright fluorescent lights in my cell were never dimmed. No matter the position in which you lie down, it becomes very uncomfortable after a few minutes,” he wrote.

Carpay said that what kept him going through his ordeal was that before being jailed, he had been reading books about the Nazi occupation in the Netherlands, and in specific about two freedom fighters.

“What each of those two freedom fighters endured was absolutely horrific, and terrible beyond description. Having these examples in mind made my 23-hour overnight stay at the ‘Arrest Processing Facility’ jail infinitely more bearable as I compared my circumstances to theirs,” Carpay said.

“I also thought frequently about the many weeks that Tamara Lich, Pastor Timothy Stephens, Pastor James Coates, Pastor Tobias Tissen and Pastor Art Pawlowski spent in jail here in Canada.”

‘Worst’ moment came

Carpay said his “worst moment came” after speaking to legal aid duty counsel.

He was told he would be transferred to the notorious Calgary Remand Centre prison.

The legal aid told him he could spend up to six days in this jail before being flown to a Winnipeg jail.

“I felt terror and despair, not so much about conditions at the Calgary Remand Centre (I’ve heard they are unpleasant) but about all of my family plans and work commitments in the upcoming week,”  Carpay wrote.

He said that he told the duty counsel he had been reassured by Calgary Police that he would be let go only after a short time.

Carpay noted that the duty counsel said, “Well, sometimes police lie just to get you to turn yourself in. It saves them a lot of work.”

He then said that it would make no sense for him to be flown to Winnipeg at taxpayers’ cost.

The threat of long jail stay subsides

After some time, Carpay noted that the duty counsel “dug further into the file and stumbled across some email or other info indicating that Manitoba Justice had agreed to me being released in Calgary.”

“I was relieved to say the least. This aligned with what Mr. Weir had told me. The terror and despair began to subside,” Carpay wrote.

After a return to his cell for a short while, which included processing time, Carpay was let go after being fed.

“I drove back home and was thrilled to be reunited with my wife and kids. These events were very hard on them, especially for the younger children,” Carpay wrote.

“Never in my life have I appreciated a mattress as much as I did when I went to bed that night.”

Carpay explained that staff members in the jail were polite but that he will not be “intimidated by this experience.”

“I will continue to advocate for the return of our Charter rights and freedoms which were taken away from us in March of 2020,” he wrote.

Carpay said he is not intimidated by his arrest after being charged with obstruction of justice.  He noted it’s “ridiculous” that after a year-and-a-half he is “suddenly” being charged with obstruction.

The JCCF has been one of Canada’s most prominent legal groups over the last 2 1/2 years, having taken to court various government departments and officials over their imposition of draconian COVID mandates.

The JCCF says it has “been active in response to governments’ severe COVID lockdowns and restrictions which stopped Canadians from gathering, worshiping, associating, working, traveling and peaceful assembly.”