A former Calgary and Mississauga mayoral candidate known for his anti-mask activism during the COVID-19 pandemic has been released on bail and placed under house arrest.
The development comes after he was intercepted by U.S. Border Patrol agents while trying to cross into Montana on foot.
Lawyer Ian McCuaig confirmed Tuesday that Kevin J. Johnston has been released on a $2,500 deposit and will be unable to leave his residence lawfully without his surety, Andrew Lineker. McCuaig said Lineker lives in Edmonton.
A surety is someone who is willing to supervise and vouch for an individual, a condition that can be set during a bail hearing.
The presiding justice also placed a prohibition on Johnston restricting possession of any devices with an internet connection, in addition to directions to keep the peace and be on good behaviour.
“I wouldn’t say it was a consent release, but it was almost a consent release. It wasn’t quite hotly contested,” McCuaig told Global News.
McCuaig said Johnston was very happy to have been released, but wouldn’t comment on whether Johnston intended on following the court’s orders.
“The only advice I’m permitted to give to my clients is that they should comply with court orders.”
Johnston was due to complete his 40-day intermittent sentence for breaching public health measures over the 2021 Christmas weekend, when he did not appear at the jail.
Warrants for his arrest were issued after Calgary police were unable to locate Johnston.
U.S. authorities apprehended Johnston “lost” near the Montana-North Dakota state line early on Jan. 4, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said at the time. He was held in Montana before being returned to Calgary.
The court proceedings Tuesday afternoon did not include a number of matters in front of other courts involving Johnston.
On Jan. 4, he was due to begin serving an 18-month sentence from an Ontario Superior Court of Justice where he was found in contempt of court relating to a 2019 court order forbidding him from making defamatory statements about an Ontario restauranteur.
Sentencing for a wilful promotion of hatred case against Johnston is expected in early March.
Johnston has yet to face trial for assault charges from a March 2021 incident in Dawson Creek, B.C.
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