Street preacher takes case against the city to appeal court
Lawyer argues freedom of expression breached
Street minister Art Pawlowski has had many confrontations with law-enforcement officers over the years while trying to reach the city’s most vulnerable citizens through public rallies, sermons and barbecues.
Photograph by: Ted Rhodes , Calgary Herald
The lawyer for street preacher Artur Pawlowski says the City of Calgary breached his client’s freedom of expression when it ticketed him twice for using amplifiers to enhance his sermons to draw vulnerable people to a downtown park in April 2007.
Michael Bates asked the Alberta Court of Appeal on Tuesday to overturn a Queen’s Bench judge’s decision to quash his provincial court acquittal on the violations.
He said the city committed an unlawful infringement on his client’s freedom of expression when it refused to renew a permit to use the sound enhancers in the now-defunct Triangle Park.
City lawyer Ola Malik said the permit was denied because of numerous noise complaints by the public, some from the north side of the river from the park just east of the Drop-In Centre. Malik said there was no issue with the content of his preachings.
Provincial court Judge Allan Fradsham initially ruled the city infringed on Pawlowski’s rights, but the city appealed and Queen’s Bench Justice Robert Hall quashed the acquittals and convicted Pawlowski.
Appellate justices Peter Martin, Jean Cote and Bruce McDonald reserved their decision.