Canadian Pastor James Coates' wife, Erin, recently shared details on her husband's ongoing imprisonment. Coates awaits trial on May 3 for "exceeding the 15% allowable capacity for the services held on Feb. 21 and Feb. 28, 2021."
The Royal Candian Mounted Police announced this week it would be filing charges against Coates' congregation, GraceLife Church.
According to his wife, when Coates was first put in jail, he was quarantined for two weeks with only two 15-minute sessions outside of his cell.
Coates initially shared a jail cell with another man but was removed due to the "high profile" nature of Coates' case. From then on, he has "spent the majority of the two weeks alone," his wife said. Coates was moved to the general population list on March 4.
"Now, he gets about three hours out, in one-hour chunks," Erin said. "He is able to be with the inmates on his unit during this time."
Coates and his wife are not permitted to meet due to COVID-19 restrictions. They have been able to talk through video calls.
The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench Justice Peter Michalyshyn last Friday called Coates' imprisonment "justified" and "necessary" because he is "bound by the rule of law" and his "refusal to the condition of release and multiple noncompliance with the stated intent to continue concerns public safety."
Michalyshyn also said GraceLife has a "strong and literal interpretation of holy Scriptures" that commands believers to meet in-person with their faces uncovered during worship.