Another lawyer charged after Manitoba judge followed during churches’ COVID-19 court challenge

A second lawyer from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has been charged after a Manitoba judge, who presided over their case challenging COVID-19 restrictions, was followed by a private investigator in 2021.

Randal Jay Cameron, 45, is charged with intimidation of a justice system participant and attempting to obstruct justice, the Winnipeg Police Service said in a news release Friday morning. 

The Calgary man was taken into custody with help from the Calgary Police Service on Thursday after a Canada-wide warrant was issued for his arrest, the release said. He was released on a release order by a judicial justice of the peace. 

Cameron is the second of the organization’s lawyers charged in connection with the hiring of a private investigator to follow Glenn Joyal while the chief justice of Manitoba’s Court of King’s Bench presided over a case the centre was involved in.

John Carpay, a lawyer who represented a number of churches across Canada fighting COVID-19 restrictions in court, was charged earlier this month after admitting in 2021 he hired a private investigator to follow Joyal and senior Manitoba government officials during the case.

Carpay, who also founded the organization, was charged with the same offences as Cameron.

His decision to hire a private investigator to follow Joyal came to light in July 2021 during a hearing for a case against pandemic rules brought forward by seven rural Manitoba churches who were represented by Carpay’s organization.

Joyal told the hearing he had been tailed by a private investigator trying to catch him breaking COVID-19 rules in order to embarrass him while he presided over the court challenge.

Joyal said the surveillance would not influence his decision in the case — in which he later ruled Manitoba’s pandemic restrictions were not a violation of charter rights — but noted the intrusion of privacy raised serious concerns about the safety of judges generally. 

Carpay was later placed on a brief leave from the organization. At the time, Cameron said he had become aware of the surveillance of Joyal a few weeks earlier.

Both lawyers apologized to the judge.

Police said on Friday that investigators don’t anticipate any additional arrests in the case.