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Pastor Tim Stephens preaching on Feb. 21, 2021Fairview Baptist Church / YouTube

CALGARY, Alberta (LifeSiteNews) — The Provincial Court of Alberta has dropped COVID health charges against Pastor Tim Stephens, a Christian clergyman who spent a combined 21 days in jail.  

“This is vindication, not only for me, but vindication that the government grossly abused their power,” Stephens tweeted on Tuesday. 

“In all of this, I rejoice since the gospel of Jesus Christ went forth in power, and Christ built his church. All glory to God!” 

Stephens, a father of eight who serves as the pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary, said he was found not guilty of two health charges for which he was tried for last month.  

Additionally, he noted that he had “5 health tickets withdrawn, 1 criminal charge withdrawn, 1 contempt charge withdrawn, and now acquitted on these two counts.” 

“But I still spent 21 days in jail,” tweeted Stephens 

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) represented Stephens as his legal counsel. In a November 1 press release, the JCCF said it is “pleased that the court acquitted Pastor Stephens on the charges of not complying with a public health order.” 

“Pastor Stephens was illegally arrested and imprisoned for having allegedly violated the Public Health Orders, which have since been shown to be ineffective and harmful,” said the JCCF. 

“This decision sets the record straight about the justifiability of his actions and about the importance of respecting Charter rights and freedoms.” 

READ: Canadian pastor tracked down by police helicopter, arrested for violating COVID rules

Last year, Alberta churches were told to limit their congregations and conform with mask mandates placed on them by the provincial government.  

On June 14, Stephens was tracked down by a police helicopter and arrested and charged a second time by members of the Calgary Police Service (CPS) for allegedly breaking COVID-19 health rules.  

The pastor had his church doors shut by police on June 5 but continued conducting services nonetheless, albeit in secret. 

A video of his arrest shows Stephens’ children crying while saying “Goodbye, Daddy,” as he is placed inside a police car. 

He was released from jail on July 2.  

Stephens was arrested at the request of Alberta Health Services (AHS) on a May 13, 2021 order from Alberta Associate Chief Justice Rooke, which allowed anyone who broke COVID rules to be arrested without warrant.  

Stephens was the third Alberta pastor jailed for defying COVID rules, which were all but scrapped by March 2022. 

Alberta’s new Premier Danielle Smith said she is looking into giving amnesty to pastors and others charged for committing COVID violations, so long as they do not involve criminal charges.