Lawyer for Yellowknife pub charged with COVID-19 violation vows to ‘fight the fine’

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Lawyer for Yellowknife pub charged with COVID-19 violation vows to 'fight the fine'

A Yellowknife pub has a few weeks to take action against a $ 5,175 fine for violating NWT public health regulations.

The Monkey Tree Pub was due to appeal in court Tuesday morning, but Judge Robert Gorin adjourned the case to May 4 to give both sides more time to review the facts. Gorin noticed a conflict in the case, but not because he is a “regular patron” of the monkey tree.

Jen Vornbrock, one of the pub’s owners, told CBC in a previous interview that the ticket was related to an alcohol inspection on November 14, which said the pub’s dance floor was in operation.

This violates the NWT’s Emerging Wisely Plan, according to which dance floors in restaurants and bars must remain closed. Companies can request exemptions from these rules, which will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the NWT government.

The pub is represented by Toronto attorney Joshua Halpern, who works closely with conservative media company Rebel News on the Fight the Fines campaign. This case is directly related to the campaign, he said.

Halpern said he hopes to settle the case out of court – but is ready to start a constitutional case if the NWT government moves forward.

“It is almost as if it has become a crime not to be afraid of this so-called pandemic,” Halpern told the CBC. “As if we are not scared enough in our daily life.”

“You would think these government officials are describing a gruesome crime scene,” he said. “Empty bottles … people swaying left to right, I mean yeah, it’s a bar. This is just your little neighborhood business trying to survive.”

In an email, a territory spokesman said only one company had been indicted under the NWT’s Public Health Act during the pandemic.

As the case is still on trial, no further comment has been made.