Judge rejects Morgentaler abortion center’s application to intervene in Linda Gibbons appeals

The judge found that the Morgentaler facility's arguments "are in substance indistinguishable" from the Crown's.
Wed Apr 16, 2014 - 2:20 pm EST

TORONTO, April 16, 2014 ( – A judge has rejected an application by the Toronto Morgentaler abortion center (carrying the corporate name “Lexogest Inc.”) to act as an intervenor in upcoming appeals by Linda Gibbons of her criminal convictions for demonstrating outside the center in recent years.

Through Clayton Ruby’s law office of Ruby, Shiller, Chan and Hassan, and its representative Gerald Chan, the center had argued in a hearing Monday that the Gibbons appeals are “exceptionally unique,” that it had “a unique perspective” to offer on them and that there was “great public interest” in the matter. Chan noted Ruby had been allowed by Judge Feroza Bhabha to address a lower court hearing involving Gibbons last year.

However, Mr. Justice Ian MacDonnell of the Superior Court of Justice, in a ruling released Tuesday, cited case law that found the granting of such interventions should be used sparingly and that subjecting an accused to more than one prosecutor lacks the appearance of fairness. In addition, MacDonnell ruled the abortion center’s submissions “are in substance indistinguishable” from those of the Crown, that they would not “illuminate any particular aspect of the appeal” and that there is no wider public interest involved, such as a Charter of Rights issue.

The judge’s ruling echoed the arguments of Gibbons’ defence counsels Daniel Santoro and Nicholas Rouleau. The appeal process will consequently begin as scheduled on April 24 at the Ontario Court of Appeal, 361 University Avenue in Toronto, with only the Crown and defence involved.

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