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Legal challenge to hotel quarantines to be launched today

Legal battle: Attorney Mark Pettingill (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Lawyers for a pressure group who want to block planned compulsory coronavirus quarantines at hotels are expected to apply for an interim injunction today, The Royal Gazette can reveal.

The news came after Constitutional Freedom Bermuda hit its target of $70,000 to fund the legal challenge to quarantine rules which they claimed would discriminate against people who had not been vaccinated.

People returning from trips overseas must quarantine in a hotel rather than at their own home – and foot the bill – from Sunday.

Mark Pettingill of Chancery Legal confirmed that papers would be filed with the Supreme Court today on behalf of the group.

The documents will ask for a block on the implementation of the regulations until a judicial review could be carried out.

CFB has argued that the measure was unconstitutional.

Mr Pettingill said that the application would be “extensive” and would include affidavits from medical professionals who opposed the tough stance.

He added: “The crux of this is that Government is going to have to establish that this measure – which interferes with the rights of freedom of movement – is it reasonable under the circumstances? Will it limit the spread of the virus?”

CFB has hired a London-based QC to mount the challenge against the regulations.

The group claimed the plan was “a step too far” and that Government was “essentially jailing those who do not choose to get the vaccine”.

A spokesman for the group asked: “What happens to the mother who is pregnant and returning home? Will she, too, be locked in a facility and forced to pay for what is effectively jail?”

CFP set up the fundraising campaign less than four weeks ago on the crowdjustice platform and had until this Friday to reach its target.

It passed the milestone on Monday and is now aiming for a “stretch target” of $140,000.

Mr Pettingill said earlier: “We are committed to representing our clients without fear or favour and irrespective of political affiliation.

“This matter has nothing to do politics or conspiracies, this is about constitutional freedoms.

“The Constitution guarantees fundamental rights, liberties, and freedoms that all Bermudians are entitled.”

He added: “Our clients hold the view that the regulations are discriminatory and have gone a step too far and our team at Chancery looks forward to working with Mr. Griffiths QC to advocate our clients' case before the courts.

“Our clients are immensely grateful for the enormous support they've received both locally and across the globe in respect of their pursuit of constitutional justice for all.”

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Published June 02, 2021 at 7:57 am (Updated June 02, 2021 at 7:42 am)

Legal challenge to hotel quarantines to be launched today

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