TORONTO, Ontario, July 24, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Linda Gibbons tasted freedom for the first time in over seven months last Friday morning after a judge found her not guilty of disobeying a court order in connection with her arrest outside the Morgentaler abortion site in Toronto last December 16.
She was immediately released from custody to the greetings of supporters in a downtown Toronto courtroom as Justice William R. Wolski of the Ontario Court of Justice ruled Crown attorney Andrew Cappell had insufficiently proven Gibbons created a nuisance, as the charge had suggested. Wolski said Gibbons could not be convicted because the testimony of an attending sheriff was inadequate and no abortion staff were called to outline how Gibbons’s actions allegedly impacted them.
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During the earlier trial, Wolski had rejected two defence arguments that the injunction surrounding the Morgentaler site did not apply to Gibbons and that her conduct did not violate terms of the injunction as specified in its text.
On another charge for which Gibbons has been convicted and sentenced before Justice Mara Beth Greene, an appeal has been launched on the grounds that there was an abuse of process, because the matter concerned a “temporary” court injunction that is now 18 years old. The defence is also arguing the Criminal Code section under which Gibbons was charged for disobeying a court order is unconstitutional. A hearing is likely on this matter later this summer or in the fall.
Celebrating with friends in a food court following her release Friday, Gibbons said the judge’s comments vindicated pro-life activists’ position that their work does not constitute harassment. “We are there because we want to defend the babies and we love and care for women who are wounded by abortion. To misinterpret us as being irritating or not caring to them … I think, in (the judge’s) one word, dismissing it as not a nuisance speaks volumes about what pro-life people are really there to do, which is to love and care for women and their babies.”
Gibbons said a baby was saved from abortion during her time in prison, as an abortion-minded prisoner heeded her and two others’ advice to consult with a crisis pregnancy centre. “That was a very glad moment,” she said. Gibbons also evangelized her young cellmate in Bible reading. “We were sharing all kinds of Bible stories as they came up. She got really encouraged to start reading … I see her spiritually trying to put things together … She’s gotten to the point of taking the word out to others and ready to do it selflessly and boldly. So there was something beautiful about that.”
Her immediate plans are to visit her aged mother in B.C. and then take time out to enjoy some cottage life while summer is still here. “I’d rather be knee-deep in grass than in the green I’ve been wearing on my back,” Gibbons quipped.