TORONTO, September 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Linda Gibbons was found guilty of disobeying a court order during a hearing in the provincial court at College Park in downtown Toronto this afternoon, with sentencing put off until this Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. at the same location.
The charge related to her arrest while demonstrating outside the “Morgentaler Clinic” abortion site this past June 11. Madam Justice Feroza Bhabha rejected defence counsel Daniel Santoro's two arguments: that an injunction protecting the abortion site did not apply to Gibbons and that even if it did, her conduct on that date did not constitute a violation of its terms.
Bhabha said the document’s language encompassing “John Doe and Jane Doe and persons unknown” meant Gibbons was included and that Santoro's argument was a “collateral attack” on the injunction, a process that has to be pursued in Superior Court. Morgentaler lawyer Clayton Ruby had argued the same in his surprise appearance before the court at the previous trial hearing.
As well, Bhabha accepted the testimonies of Morgentaler “operations manager” Shayna Hodgson and Intercon Security guard Brett Kitchen in ruling that Gibbons's actions of wearing a large placard, standing in close proximity to the site's door and engaging clients in dialogue meant she was “disturbing, interrupting or attempting to interrupt” the functioning of the Morgentaler site, conduct which is prohibited by terms of the injunction.
Prior to adjournment, the Crown indicated that, in light of numerous similar past convictions dating to 1994, it would be seeking a six-month jail term with a credit only on a one-for-one basis for the number of days served since June 11. Santoro countered that a four- to six-month term was appropriate, with credit on a one-and-a-half-to-one basis for time served.
Outside court, Santoro said he would be appealing the verdict, raising to three the number of appeals he will have pending regarding Gibbons. She remains in custody at the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton as she declines to agree to bail conditions that include staying away from abortion sites.
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Meanwhile, fellow pro-life demonstrator Mary Wagner is due in court at 1000 Finch Avenue West on October 7 and 8 for the continuation of her trial on charges of mischief and failing to comply with probation orders. She was arrested on August 15, 2012 at the “Women's Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto and has been in custody since that time while refusing to accede to bail conditions that include staying away from abortion locations.
The judge in her case, Justice Fergus O'Donnell, in June turned down her request for public funding of a challenge to the Criminal Code's denial of human status for the unborn. Currently, the law dictates that human status is conferred on a child only after he has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of his mother, whether or not he has breathed, has an independent circulation or has had his navel cord severed. O`Donnell`s written decision has still not been released.
In light of the denial, and Wagner`s returning of a legal aid certificate, a group of pro-life supporters is moving to set up a “Mary Wagner Legal Defence Fund,” which will seek to raise the perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars needed for a full challenge to the abortion law, led by her counsel, Dr. Charles Lugosi. The process would involve the calling of expert witnesses, the employment of assistant legal counsels and more.
In a letter to O`Donnell dated August 27 and confirming her withdrawal from Legal Aid, Wagner said her constitutional rights are being violated. “I believe that I am unfairly and illegally being denied full answer and defence … I have no other recourse than to directly appeal to the public for donations … I put my hope in the people of Canada to enable me to make full answer and defence.”