Organization admits tailing Manitoba judge presiding over COVID restrictions case

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The organization representing multiple churches across the country in court challenges against public health orders is apologizing after hiring a private investigator to follow a Manitoba judge.

John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, says his organization hired the investigator to observe the judge overseeing the court challenge of COVID-19 restrictions in Manitoba.

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Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal says he realized he was being followed by a vehicle after leaving court last week.

He says a person also went to his home and spoke with his daughter.


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Manitoba’s top doc testifies in court challenge to his authority Friday


Manitoba’s top doc testifies in court challenge to his authority Friday – May 7, 2021

Joyal, who said he wasn’t aware who had hired the private investigator when he spoke in court Monday morning, said he is deeply concerned that someone was trying to intimidate him or obstruct justice in the high-profile case.

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Joyal said Winnipeg police and the Government of Manitoba’s Internal Security and Intelligence Unit are investigating.

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“It is also my hope that the Government of Manitoba and the relevant regulatory authorities bring a closer examination as to how private investigation agencies are licenced and how, if at all, they are overseen,” Joyal said in a written statement later emailed to media.

“If we are now in an era, where, a private investigation agency can be permitted to accept this type of retainer, and if we are now in an era, where, a sitting judge, in the middle of a case, can have his or her privacy compromised as part of an attempt to gather information intended to embarrass him or her, and perhaps even attempt to influence or shape a legal outcome, then we are indeed, in unchartered waters.”


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Manitoba minister says only God has authority to make people wear masks – May 3, 2021

Carpay says his group has organized private investigation surveillance on a number of public officials across the country.

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But Carpay says it was bad judgment to follow the judge ruling on a case it’s involved in.

“I accept full responsibility and sole responsibility for my decision to to retain private investigation firms, for observation of public officials,” Carpay said in a statement to Global News.

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“And the my error in judgement in in this case is that it was it was poor judgement. It was a bad decision to have done this observation during a court case. That was an error in judgement.”

The churches have argued that public health orders that limit faith gatherings and impose restrictions are a violation of charter rights.

Joyal said he expects to make a decision in the case “in the next few short weeks.”

More to come.

–With files from Brittany Greenslade and Shane Gibson




© 2021 The Canadian Press

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