OTTAWA, Ontario, November 2, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A student pro-life group at a university in Ottawa says it is “pleased” with the Crown’s decision on Monday to withdraw trespassing charges that their university filed against them. The charges were filed after the group attempted to display the Genocide Awareness Project, an exhibit which compares abortion to past atrocities through graphic imagery, on campus.
“We are pleased that the Crown has decided to withdraw these unjust charges” said Ruth (Lobo) Shaw, former president of Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life student club at Ottawa’s Carleton University.
“We have always maintained that we had the right to exhibit the Genocide Awareness Project on campus and that our arrest was unlawful. The withdrawal of these unjust charges is confirmation of that fact.”
On October 4th of last year, four members of Lifeline — all tuition-paying students at the university — were arrested by Ottawa city police as they prepared to conduct a peaceful pro-life demonstration on their campus.
The University deemed the pro-life display to be “offensive” and asked the students to disband. The students, however, stood their ground. They were handcuffed by campus security officials and subsequently charged by Ottawa police with trespassing, failure to leave property when asked, and attempting to proceed with a prohibited event. Each student was fined $130.
“The Crown stated that the basis for withdrawing the trespass charges is that the issues dealing with the relationship between a university and its students was already being dealt with in Lobo et al. v. Carleton University et al., the civil action brought by two Carleton Lifeline members, Ruth (Lobo) Shaw and John McLeod, against Carleton University and members of its administration,” stated Lifeline’s press release from yesterday.
With the charges being withdrawn, Lifeline says it can now focus on their own legal action against the University, which aims at securing their freedom of speech and expression.
“Although we no longer need to defend ourselves against the trespassing charges, a lot of work still needs to be done to move our lawsuit against Carleton University along and to clarify the legal rights of students to campus free speech and expression,” said John McLeod, current president of Carleton Lifeline.
Support Carleton Lifeline’s Defense Fund here.