34

Variations of this image circulate claiming that a man named Patrick King won a court case in which he challenged the province to provide an isolated sample of the virus, which they failed. The rumors claim that for this reason, Alberta is ending all restrictions soon. Is this take accurate?

enter image description here

15
  • 26
    Are those two stories which have been placed side by side in an image actually related? One is dated July and the other August, so it's a photoshop. Where is the full press release about Patrick King, please, not a conveniently truncated story? Was the "victory" against the $1200 fine, or against the province of Alberta's health restrictions? Aug 5 at 9:30
  • 7
    Google pulls up loads of that type of comment such as on Twitter etc. Here is one example: YUGE!!! CANADIAN COURT VICTORY PROVES COVID-19 IS A HOAX & ALL RESTRICTIONS HAVE NOW BEEN DROPPED. Conspiracy theorists will grasp any straws they can find. Aug 5 at 10:18
  • 3
    Maybe don't give more visibility to those kind of articles by posting a link.. It's a well established fact that disinformation spreads faster and more easily than the truth
    – Tofandel
    Aug 5 at 18:00
  • 12
    @Tofandel: The whole point of this site is to take dubious claims and expose them to sunlight, so when people are exposed to claims they can quickly find whether it is true. The solution to disinformation is not to discard information.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 5 at 20:41
  • 7
    Another for the same category as "sovereign citizen" tax-avoidance schemes--that requires simultaneously believing there's a massive international conspiracy to make up a virus, fake millions of deaths, impose arbitrary restrictions, etc; and yet believing that the conspirators will cheerfully admit it's a charade if somebody just says the right magic words in a courtroom...
    – Tiercelet
    Aug 5 at 21:53
92

Short version:

  1. Mr. King is misrepresenting the words of a document he received in an ongoing court case against him. He misconstrues the document to mean there is no proof that the virus causing COVID exists.
  2. At about the time Mr. King made his interpretation public, the chief medical officer of health for the Province of Alberta, Canada (where Mr. King's case is being tried) announced that many of the public health regulations put in place to handle COVID19 will be relaxed and/or removed in the next few weeks.
  3. The two events are merged together as a claim of "victory" by Mr. King and others who deny the existence of COVID19.

Longer version with (some) references.

This appears to be a disingenuous conflation of a completely misrepresented text in a court document with events that happened independently of the court case against Patrick King.

First, the court case.

Patrick King is trying to get out of paying a $1200 fine for flouting public health regulations that were aimed at reducing the spread of COVID19. Last December, he took part in a protest and was fined for being part of a group of more than 10 persons assembled in public, in violation of the then active rules limiting public gatherings.

His defense is based around his belief that COVID19 is a hoax and does not exist. No virus, no basis for the public health regulations, no basis for him to pay the $1200 dollar fine.

There have been ongoing hearings since May 4,2021. Mr. King has been representing himself in court.

Patrick King gave an interview that was posted on the Stew Peters show on August 3, 2021, referring to events that took place between July 16, 2021 and August 3, 2021.

Mr. King had tried to get a subpoena issued to get proof of the existence of the virus that causes COVID19 from the chief medical officer of health (CMOH) for Alberta, Canada.

His application for the subpoena was denied.

Mr. King showed a picture of part of a document he received from the court. This document gives various reasons why the request for a subpoena was denied.

The only way to actually see this document is to watch the video recording of the interview (document is shown at about the 5 minutes, 30 seconds mark.) Edit: see below. The document itself is now available.

Screenshot of the video:

enter image description here

Point number 8 is the part that seems to have caused all the excitement:

  1. 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. As such, the Justice of the Peace did not have jurisdiction to issue the subpeona, and it should be quashed on this basis.

There's two important things to take from that passage:

  1. The request for the subpoena should be quashed (dropped, denied.)
  2. Mr. King has no evidence to show that the evidence he wants subpoenaed would have any bearing on his case.

The thing that everyone is all excited about is the line above that:

The CMOH Has No Material Evidence

What that means is that the CMOH has no evidence with a bearing on the case. It does not say that the CMOH has no evidence. It says it has no evidence pertaining to the case. In other words, any proof the CMOH could provide that the COVID virus exists (or doesn't exist) has no bearing on Mr. King's case. Moreover, point (8.) says that Mr. King cannot prove that the evidence he wants from the CMOH would be relevant.

The COVID deniers are all claiming that "The CMOH Has No Material Evidence" means that the CMOH can't prove that the COVID virus exists - but all that line means is that the proof is irrelevant to the case.

Now the conflation:

On July 28, 2021, the CMOH for Alberta announced plans to lift many public health restrictions.

This occurred at about the same time that Mr. King received the document mentioned above.

The result was that the COVID deniers have taken their misinterpretation of the words from the court and combined the independent announcement of the lifting of COVID restrictions in Alberta, Canada as a victory for their ideals.

In truth, Ms. Hinshaw has been pushing to lift the restrictions for months. There is apparently even some speculation that Ms. Hinshaw has been pushing to lift the restrictions as part of some campaign to push privatization of the health care system in Alberta.

Mr. King and his followers are totally misrepresenting the facts so that they can claim a "victory" for their beliefs.


Note 1: This is not just my interpretation. Even in the places where Mr. King's video is spread and supported, many people who deny that COVID19 exists are also stating that Mr. King's interpretation is wrong.


Thanks to @richardb for providing more information on the background. Things actually get worse for Mr. King's view when you see the entire background.

The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms has obtained copies of the court transcripts and the subpoena denial.

You can download or read the full documents at the given link.

Because he is not a lawyer and is representing himself, Mr. King failed to provide notice before the trial that he was going to challenge the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (like the US Constitution.) Without that notice, the trial is only about whether or not he actually broke the law at the time he was issued the ticket for not following the health and public safety regulations during a protest on December 5, 2020.

In July 2021, Mr. King tried to subpoena Ms. Hinshaw from the CMOH in order to get information he believes will prove that the regulations were invalid since COVID (he believes) doesn't exist.

His subpoena request was denied because his case isn't about the validity of the law due to his failure to give notice of a challenge to the charter before the trial started. The trial is only about whether or not he broke the law. Whether the law was a good law or not has no bearing on whether or not he broke it.

The page after the one shown in the video puts the lie to the whole thing as it makes very clear why the subpoena request was denied.

Here's what the video shows:

enter image description here

Here's the page after:

enter image description here

  1. The Provincial Court proceeding is about the December 5, 2020 enforcement of the law (when Mr. King was issued the ticket), not the rationale for the law. The CMOH does not have, and Mr. King does not seek from the CMOH, any evidence about the ticket issued to Mr. King on December 5, 2020.
  2. Further, there can be no constitutional challenge to the Act, or order issued by the CMOH under the Act, in the absence of a proper notice to the Attorney General of Canada and the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General of Alberta under the Judicature Act, RSA 2000, c. J-2. Mr. King has not given any such notice in the Provincial Court proceeding.

You might make an argument that Mr. King misunderstood point (8.) because he doesn't understand the special use of the term "material evidence."

Points (10.) and (11.) are so clear as to exclude any misunderstanding. Mr. King ignored them, and misconstrued point (8.) to claim his "victory."

7
  • 7
    As far as I can tell, the case is still ongoing. He didn't win the case, he "won" some point in his battle against the COVID health regulations, but didn't win the case.
    – JRE
    Aug 5 at 14:33
  • 11
    @JRE Wait -- he lost some point in his battle, didn't he? He asked for a sample of COVID and his request was denied, right? Aug 5 at 19:25
  • 41
    @OwenReynolds: Yeah, in the reality the rest of us inhabit, he took a serious loss. Not only did he not get the evidence he wanted, he was told that he had no evidence to suggest that whatever CMOH could deliver was even relevant to his case - he had no standing to even ask for the evidence he wanted. In his reality, that somehow proved that COVID doesn't exist.
    – JRE
    Aug 5 at 19:55
  • 1
    “speculation that [Dr.] Hinshaw has been pushing to lift the restrictions as part of some campaign to push privatization” — this reads as Dr. Hinshaw advocating for privatization. The linked article refers more broadly to the UCP pushing for privatization (via overwhelming services). Unless you have more evidence of Dr. Hinshaw advocating for privatization, you might want to reword.
    – Erika
    Aug 5 at 21:53
  • 2
    It might be worth noting that the first vaccine for a virus-caused disease - smallpox - was developed in 1798. The first virus - tobacco mosaic virus - was isolated in either 1892 or 1898, but even then, its existence was only demonstratable by its effects: it passed through filters that blocked bacteria. It wasn't until the mid-20th century that a virus could actually be seen. Diseases were known, and vaccines for them developed, long before the actual causative agent was found.
    – jamesqf
    Aug 6 at 17:07
9

They aren't at all connected. It helps to understand the legal terminology and process. @JRE's excellent answer is on the nail.

Courts are extremely focused entities. If a point doesn't matter to a case - if it makes no legal difference to the outcome - they will say so, quickly and decisively, and often in legal terminology.

In this case, the court states that King has requested information or materials be disclosed by the CMOH, and asked the court to force the CMOH to disclose it. But instead the court rules that even if the CMOH were to disclose it, King has totally failed to show that it would make the slightest difference to the outcome of his case in legal terms ("[King] has no evidence showing that the evidence [he seeks] from the CMOH is likely to be material"). Presumably because whatever documents or materials exist that the CMOH might or might not possess, could not possibly in a legal sense, change the fact that the law says King had to comply with restrictions on gatherings, and King didn't do so.

The court summarizes this by saying that no evidence relevant to the case appears to be in the possession of the CMOH. They don't possess any evidence likely to change whether or not, or how severely, King will be found guilty. Any such documents or materials (even if they exist) that King wants to get from the CMOH would not make any difference to the case, at all, even in theory.

The only reason to request any information or testimony from anyone, in any way, is to help the court decide the legal outcome of the case. That's what courts do. They exist to decide cases, they aren't there as a way to provide platforms. So if it won't matter to that outcome, then it's merely a distraction to the court and should (in legal terms) be ignored, whether or not its arguably got significance to some other debate or issue.

So in the court's ruling, the judge says there is zero benefit to the court in deciding King's outcome, from coercing the CMOH to produce the things King wants, because it wouldn't change anything even if the CMOH did so. Even if by some miracle the CMOH said they had exactly the materials King believes, that still wouldn't change the legal conclusion of his case. So the court flatly refuses King's request.

The court unfortunately sums this up in usual legal terseness, by saying that the CMOH "has no material evidence", meaning, (1) there isn't any reason to believe that CMOH possesses any evidence that is relevant (could make a difference) to deciding in * this * legal case, whether or not King is guilty of breaking the law as it stands; and (2) because of how criminal law works, the court's conclusion after hearing King's request, is to refuse him the order he seeks, because realistically the CMOH does not have, and has never had, any evidence that would matter legally, in this prosecution.

You can see how this has been totally misunderstood by King, who is not a lawyer, and who has strong views and seizes on that summary. But if he was a lawyer he would understand what it is saying, it is not even slightly ambiguous, it's crystal clear - to a lawyer that is :)

The other news is pure coincidence of timing.

Update

In case anyone's curious, the covid virus Sars-Cov-2 was isolated in March 2020, shortly after the pandemic started, by teams from Sunnybrook McMaster (NY, USA) and Uni of Toronto (Canada). Just in case anyone wondered....

Update 2: Although the meaning of the documents is plain English, its nice to see them backed up by sources too. Courtesy of @Fizz (see comments), source 1, source 2.

3
  • 1
    Although @JRE essentially said the same in his answer, this answer adds a specific focus which I (not being a lawyer) appreciate a lot. Aug 6 at 12:19
  • @fredsbend: reuters.com/article/factcheck-alberta-case-idUSL1N2PE0EX backs up the interpretation provided in this answer. Or at least the gov't of Alberta quoted therein says the same as this answer with regards to interpretation. (I mean sure, you can say they are biased towards their own case and that you believe Mr. King's interpretation.)
    – Fizz
    Aug 9 at 13:23
  • @fredsbend: also, if there's any doubt how much Mr. King misunderstood the whole legal process, some other quotes from the trial are given at jccf.ca/… in which the judge takes pain to explain various things to Mr. King. (Note that the latter page is authored by anti-lockdown activists as well [and they are suing the gov't as well], but these guys have a legal clue.)
    – Fizz
    Aug 9 at 13:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .