Manitoba pastor to be released following arrest for alleged defiance of public health orders

A Manitoba pastor is set to be released from custody following his arrest for alleged defiance of public health orders.

Tobias Tissen, the pastor of the Church of God Restoration near Steinbach, Man., appeared virtually in court Wednesday following his arrest Monday evening.

RCMP previously confirmed Tissen had been arrested on an outstanding warrant. Court documents show that Tissen is accused of defying public health orders on May 15 by gathering in a group of more than five people outdoors. The allegation has not been proven in court.

Tissen was released from custody on a number of conditions – including a promise to pay $1,000 and a requirement not to organize – including requesting, inciting or inviting others to – any gatherings related to COVID-19 prevention orders made under the public health act.

The conditions did specify, however, this does not impede regular religious gatherings or prevent him from performing his duties as a pastor.

He is expected to appear in Steinbach Provincial Court in early November.

Tissen has previously been fined for breaking public health orders, and is also among the 10 applicants involved in a constitutional challenge of the orders.

The Church of God Restoration has also come under fire for holding indoor services at a time when only outdoor services were allowed.

- With files from CTV's Katherine Dow.