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Fact Check-Alberta court case not linked to lifting of COVID-19 restrictions

Videos being shared online falsely suggest the Canadian province of Alberta dropped COVID-19 restrictions after failing to produce evidence in court that the SARS-CoV-2 virus exists. The office of the health minister of Alberta said the lifting of public health measures was in no way connected with the case referenced in the video. The virus has been isolated in countries worldwide, including Canada.

One of the videos shows a Canadian resident introduced as Patrick King being interviewed on the Stew Peters Show. A caption alongside a copy of the video, uploaded to Bitchute here , reads: “Patriot Patrick King represented himself in court after being fined $1200 dollars for protesting against the Covid-Hoax, he slew the beast and emerged VICTORIOUS. He issued a subpoena to the Provincial Health Minister for proof that the so-called Covid-19 Virus exists, and they were forced to admit that they had no evidence whatsoever. The virus has never been isolated, and thus the government had no legal grounds to impose any of the punishing restrictions they have inflicted on society. Since this shocking confession came to light, the Province has since rescinded all Covid-Restrictions and now officially treats Covid-19 as nothing more than a mild flu! WE WON”.

In the video, King says he issued a subpoena to Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health (CMOH) for Alberta, after he was given a ticket for violating a COVID-19 order under the Public Health Act (here ).

According to his account, the subpoena asked for proof that the virus had been isolated. King goes on show court records he says relate to his case. One circled section is entitled: “The CMOH Has No Material Evidence”. Text underneath reads: “Mr. King has no evidence showing that the evidence sought from the CMOH is likely to be material to the Provincial Court proceeding contrary to ss. 698 and 699 of the Criminal Code.” A copy of the record in question can be seen on the website of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (here , pdf).

Brett Boyden, communications advisor for the office of the health minister of Alberta, told Reuters via email in a statement that the court decision regarding the subpoena was a “preliminary technical matter”.

The emailed statement said that it was argued Hinshaw did not possess material evidence relevant to the matters that would be decided at the trial.

“The Court decided to quash the subpoena,” the office said. “It is false to claim there is any relationship between the decision on the subpoena and the lifting of public health measures.”

“Mr. King was ultimately found guilty of the offence at trial and sentenced to pay a fine,” the statement added.

Alberta dropped mandatory quarantine requirements for close contacts of COVID-19 cases on July 28, 2021. Hinshaw told a news conference the province needed to scale back the focus on COVID-19 so resources can be deployed to tackle other respiratory illnesses that are likely to climb in the fall (here ).

With 57.5% of the eligible population fully vaccinated, many provinces have dropped strict lockdown measures and gradually reopened their economies. Canada's federal guidelines still say people should quarantine if they are in close contact with a COVID-19 case (here ).

As for the isolation of the virus, in Canada, researchers at the Sunnybrook Research Institute, McMaster University and the University of Toronto reported in an article published on March 12, 2020 that they had isolated the COVID-19 virus from two clinical specimens in a level 3 containment facility (here ).

Reuters Fact Check has previously debunked claims that the virus does not exists or has not been isolated here and here .

VERDICT

False. Alberta did not drop COVID-19 restrictions due to a rejected subpoena that asked for proof the virus had been isolated. The province still has some COVID-19 restrictions in place. The virus has been isolated and exists.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .         

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