Tickets issued against Edmonton men at separate May COVID-19 rallies withdrawn

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“It’s not just the Crown’s office (as) the whole system is very disorganized and slow,” he said. “They just sat at the sheriff’s (office) and then when the Crown got a hold of it they dropped it but didn’t bother to inform defence counsel and didn’t even bother to inform the accused.”

Kitchen gave some credit to the Crown’s office by saying staff are often overworked and under-resourced and the pandemic has made the situation worst.

He said he believes there were only three tickets issued during the May 10 rally, with two of them already withdrawn. The first was against Edmonton resident Cory Teichroew. The third person ticketed during that rally is not being represented by the centre. Kitchen said he believes only one ticket was issued during the May 2 rally.

The tickets were issued under section 73(1) of the Public Health Act, which states that a person who contravenes the act, the regulations, an order under section 62 or an order of a medical officer of health or physician under Part 3 is guilty of an offence.

Kitchen said he still doesn’t know how exactly all three men violated the act.

“I can only speculate,” he said. “The Crown doesn’t call us up and say, ‘Here are our reasons for withdrawing.’ I can’t say with any certainty. The Crown has an ethical obligation that they take very seriously and they tend to adhere to quite well to only prosecute any charge or ticket issued by the police if it both is in the public interest to prosecute and there’s a reasonable likelihood of conviction. Both those things have to be met.”

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