10.53: Punishment for civil contempt of Court

Case Summary

The Court considered the appropriate sanction after the Respondents were found in contempt of two Court Orders.

The Court noted that Rule 10.53 provides that a person declared in civil contempt of Court is liable for imprisonment for up to two years or a fine, but that the Rule is not exhaustive of the remedies that the Court may impose. After reviewing case law, the Court determined that it must consider the following factors when imposing a penalty for contempt:

  • the proportionality of the sentence to the wrongdoing;
  • the presence of aggravating or mitigating factors;
  • deterrence; and
  • the reasonable of any fine or term of imprisonment;

(collectively, the “Paddock Factors”).

After considering the Paddock factors, the Court noted that the Respondents’ conduct was extremely aggravating including one of the Respondents taunting the Court to imprison him. The Court determined that one Respondent had conducted a political rally masked as a religious service despite being aware of the restrictions previously ordered by the Court. The Court also noted that the Respondent had relished in the notoriety he obtained through opposing healthcare measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Court fined each Respondent and sentenced the Respondents to three days in prison (fully satisfied by time served), probation, and community service.

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