Controversial Calgary mayoral candidate Kevin J. Johnston denied bail again
Anti-masker charged with causing disturbance at Core mall in May
Calgary mayoral candidate and anti-masker Kevin J. Johnston has been denied bail a second time and will stay behind bars until his trial on July 12.
Johnston is in custody in connection with charges of causing a disturbance and breaching a court order after he showed up at the Core Mall in downtown Calgary on May 22 and tried to enter stores without a mask.
When asked to put one on, he became verbally abusive to employees, police said.
Days after his arrest, a provincial court judge denied bail to Johnston, finding he was too high a risk to reoffend.
On Monday, Johnston's lawyer asked Court of Queen's Bench Justice David Gates to release his client, but the judge denied the application.
Defence lawyer Ian McCuaig argued that by the time his client's trial begins, Johnston would arguably have served more than a fit sentence.
But Gates disagreed, suggesting the "very unique circumstances" of the alleged crimes taking place during a pandemic, at a time when Calgary was seeing some of the highest infection rates in the world, was an aggravating factor.
The judge also pointed out that Johnston and three others, who are his roommates, according to McCuaig, were filming their interactions with store employees.
"This was not an innocent shopping trip with his four roommates," said Gates.
AHS suing Johnston
Johnston is also facing an assault charge in B.C. and a hate crime charge in Ontario.
In December, Johnston moved from Ontario to Alberta and began a campaign of denying there was an ongoing pandemic and railing against public health restrictions.
Aside from his criminal charges, Johnston is also facing a civil contempt charge for promoting large gatherings against Alberta Health Services (AHS) orders, which require physical distancing, masking and limits on gatherings.
Johnston's contempt hearing is set to take place Wednesday.
He has also been served a $1.3-million lawsuit for more than a dozen videos posted threatening AHS employees.
Last week, AHS served Johnston with the defamation lawsuit following months of threats against its employees on various web broadcasts and online video streams.
The statement of claim notes 15 times Johnston posted hateful commentary about two health inspectors in particular, including "suggesting the plaintiffs would likely be 'stabbed' or put in a 'wheelchair' and would deserve it."