Mary Wagner walks free after 135 days in jail for pro-life witness
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TORONTO, April 26, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner walked out of Old City Hall courtroom Monday after 135 days, or four-and-a-half months, in jail.
Wagner was charged with two counts of breaching a probation order and one of mischief following her December 12, 2015 arrest at the Bloor West Village Women’s Clinic, where she had been attempting to counsel women in the waiting room against having an abortion, and handing them red roses.
Following a one-and-a-half day trial on March 10 and 16, Justice Katrina Mulligan convicted Wagner of mischief, but dropped the two charges of breaching a probation order.
Mulligan said on Monday that Wagner had served the maximum time of six months for her mischief conviction at an enhanced credit of 1.5 days to one, and so “you have served the time that I can legally impose on you.”
She placed Wagner on a three-year probation order prohibiting her from being within 100 meters of not only the Bloor West Village Women’s Clinic, but all abortion facilities in Ontario.
Mulligan further ordered Wagner to stay away from abortionist Ninia Lupovici, who, with business partner*, operates Bloor West Village Women’s Clinic, an abortion facility housed in the fourth floor of an medical center at 2524 Bloor Street West.
According a Toronto Catholic Witness report, Mulligan dropped the breach of probation charges because, as she told Crown counsel Tania Monteiro March 16, she was not satisfied Wagner’s probation officer had adequately identified Wagner in court.
Moreover, Wagner had not entered a plea, and Mulligan did not have “any evidence that Wagner’s date of birth came from her.”
Therefore, there was “no admissible evidence to compare [Mary Wagner’s] date of birth to the probation orders,” Mulligan concluded. “I find her not guilty of these two charges.”
Wagner had remained silent during the March trial after declaring at the outset she would not be communicating with the court, in solidarity with the voiceless unborn victims of abortion.
Mulligan deferred sentencing until April 25, as Crown lawyer Monteiro stated she would “seek to tender Miss Wagner’s prior record” and provide evidence that Wagner was under two probation orders that she not go within 100 meters of the Bloor West Village Women’s Clinic nor within 100 meters of any abortion facility in Ontario.
The majority of time of the Monday’s sentencing hearing was devoted to Monteiro questioning probation officer Liana Mischianti, who testified that Wagner was aware of the two probation orders of June 12, 2014 and May 5, 2015, the conditions of those orders, that she was bound by them, and the consequences of breaching them.
Mulligan noted that she was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Wagner was under two probation orders at the time of her arrest on December 12, 2015.
“I did find your actions in this case to be extremely selfish and narrow minded,” Mulligan told Wagner, and that “you knew exactly what you were doing.”
After Wagner walked out of the courtroom, she thanked the approximately 30 pro-life supporters who attended the hearing, and which included long-time pro-life activists Linda Gibbons and Mary Burnie.
“Linda’s been going to jail for the last 30 years, and Mary has never missed a court day,” Wagner said.
“It’s important to show a message that we’re not just lone zealots, that we believe in life, we believe in the dignity of life,” she told supporters. “To see that in court is a very important witness.”
“It’s not wasted time in court, we pray,” Wagner said.
“The court system is on trial, not us,” noted Gibbons, who has spent 11 years in jail for pro-life witness similar to that of Mary Wagner.
Including this last stint at Milton’s Vanier Centre for Women, Wagner has spent nearly four years in jail for her peaceful attempts to save women and their unborn children from the violence of abortion.
Wagner told Catholic Register reporter Evan Boudreau she will be praying to know what to do next in her pro-life apostolate.
“I'm going to go on a five-day retreat and pray about it and discern how best to respond,” she said.
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Correction: Justice Mulligan's order included prohibiting Wagner from being within 100 meters of all Ontario abortion facilities, not just Bloor West Village Women's Clinic.