John Carpay, a Calgary-based lawyer and president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, turned himself into the Calgary police after learning he had been charged by the Winnipeg police. The Winnipeg Police Service has charged John Carpay with intimidation of a justice system participant and the attempt to obstruct justice.
Carpay, 55, hired a private investigator to follow senior government officials and Glenn Joyal, the judge presiding over one of his organization’s cases. The events took place in 2021 while Carpay had been representing churches across Canada and their plight against COVID-19 restrictions. After apologizing for hiring the private investigators, Carpay said his intention was to hold government officials accountable.
Caitlyn Gowriluk, Lawyer faces 2 criminal charges after having Manitoba judge followed during churches’ COVID-19 court challenge, (CBC, 2023)
How John Carpay Crossed the Line
During a hearing in July 2021 Glenn Joyal revealed that he believed a private investigator was tailing Joyal and attempting to catch him breaking COVID-19 rules and embarrassing him while he presided over the case.
It is natural for people to feel uneasy or uncomfortable when they are being followed by a private investigator. This may feel like an invasion of privacy and cause people to feel anxious and stressed as a result of being followed. Unsurprisingly, the person being followed by a private investigator could also feel intimidated.
In Canada, obstruction of justice is a criminal offense that is defined as interfering with the administration of justice in any way. Intimidating a senior government official is one of many examples of interfering with the administration of justice in any way.
It is important for government officials to be accountable for their actions in order to maintain the trust and confidence of the public. But, failing to adhere to high ethical standards undermines the trust that is necessary for the legal profession to function effectively and can damage the reputation of the profession.
The allegations have not been proven in court.