An unnamed Chilliwack woman has had a $5,750 COVID ticket dropped by Crown counsel, according to the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF).
The Alberta-based JCCF, a legal organization and federally registered charity, has been involved in defending numerous church leaders and others accused of violating public health orders throughout the pandemic.
In a press release issued May 5, the JCCF says a woman referred to as “Ms. C” of Chilliwack travelled to the U.S. in early 2021 to receive medical treatment.
She returned back to Canada on Sept. 8, 2021.
“When she arrived at the border, Ms. C was informed by government agents that she would have to submit to a PCR test,” according to the release. “Ms. C politely and respectfully declined, on grounds of bodily autonomy and personal health.”
The statement about “Ms. C” came a week before the JCCF announced charges dropped against three Chilliwack pastors.
Prior to Ms. C’s arrival at the Huntingdon border crossing, the JCCF says she had been suffering from a significant staph infection in her nasal passages and had just suffered a thyroid flair up requiring an emergency room visit.
“Armed with a prescription for antibiotics that had not yet been filled, Ms. C was concerned about undergoing a PCR test in her nose while suffering from a serious infection.”
She was diagnosed with Methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus aureus (MRSA) and, at the time, was not working due to her health problems.
“Ms. C reported that the agent would not listen to her concerns and was condescending and intimidating.”
She was issued a $5,750 ticket for failing to comply with the public health order requiring the COVID test.
The JCCF got involved and sent a letter to the Crown providing Ms. C’s medical condition and medical history, including letters from her doctor in the U.S. and her endocrinologist in B.C. A lawyer for the organization outlined Ms. C’s concerns over a PCR test while suffering from a nasal staph infection. After an appearance in court on March 11, 2022, the Crown agreed to withdraw the charge and ticket against Ms. C.
The Progress asked for Ms. C’s real name or a court file number to verify the case. The JCCF declined and a lawyer responded saying that as members of the legal community, they would never report lies.
“We are unable to release our client’s name as it is her wish to remain private,” JCCF staff lawyer Christopher Naimi said via email. “In accordance with our professional obligations as legal counsel, we do not print false stories.”
The JCCF insists the government’s pandemic travel restrictions unnecessarily burdened Canadians needing to leave and re-enter Canada.
“In cases such as Ms. C’s, we have seen a concerning lack of empathy and understanding shown towards Canadians who are unable to meet the requirements, with very little in the way of alternatives offered to them,” Naimi said in the press release.
“The Justice Centre is challenging these violations of Charter rights and freedoms by defending those who receive tickets, and also by way of other court actions.”
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