May 18, 2024
Press Coverage

Court upholds ban on PAs in parks

By KEVIN MARTIN, Calgary Sun

Street Church minister Art Pawlowski will have to get his message across without electronic assistance.

An appeal judge on Thursday overturned a lower court decision which said Calgary’s bylaw against the use of amplification in city parks was unconstitutional.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Robert Hall said while the bylaw violated Pawlowski’s Charter-protected freedom of expression, it was a necessary constitutional infringement.

“The ban on amplification systems in parks is a practical method of controlling noise in the use of public parks,” Hall said in a written ruling.

The judge said the bylaw was a necessary intrusion on citizen’s otherwise right to freely express themselves.

“It does not curtail public discourse,” Hall said.

“It simply limits its volume.”

Hall did agree with defence counsel Michael Bates the city’s Street Bylaw prohibiting the placement of material on a street, or sidewalk was so overly broad it violated Pawlowski’s rights.

“The over breadth of such a prohibition is alarming,” Hall said.

Hall upheld provincial court Judge Alan Fradsham’s decision to acquit Pawlowski on three charges of having material on a street, but overturned acquittals on two charges of using amplification.

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