Tony Gosgnach

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Morgentaler abortion centre seeks to intervene in Linda Gibbons appeals

Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO, April 14, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) –  The Toronto Morgentaler abortion centre, through Clayton Ruby’s law office of Ruby, Shiller, Chan and Hassan, is seeking to act as an intervenor in two of the three appeals being launched by Linda Gibbons of criminal convictions for demonstrating outside the centre over the past several years.

In the Superior Court of Justice on University Avenue in Toronto Monday morning, Mr. Justice Ian MacDonnell heard arguments for and against the application, which concerns upcoming appeals on convictions for breaching court orders registered on September 11, 2013 by Judge Feroza Bhabha and on March 14, 2013 by Judge William R. Wolski. Gerald Chan spoke on behalf of the Morgentaler centre and said the Gibbons matter is “exceptionally unique.”

He noted his colleague Ruby was allowed as an intervenor to address the trial overseen by Bhabha and so it was only natural that the abortion centre should be allowed to be involved in the appeal as well. He said the centre has “a unique perspective” to offer on the situation and will not simply reinforce the Crown’s case. He concluded by suggesting there was “great public interest” in the matter.

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Speaking for Gibbons as the appellant, counsel Nicolas Rouleau, who was joined by Daniel Santoro, said it would be “highly unordinary” to allow such an intervention in light of past practice. To allow a victim to act as an intervenor – indeed, as part of the prosecution – would be akin to allowing an assaulted shopkeeper to address a court. Something like that could only take place on very narrow procedural grounds, he said.

Rouleau also noted it was problematic because the Ruby law firm was involved in drafting the terms of the injunction under which Gibbons was arrested and prosecuted. Furthermore, he said there was not the kind of broad public interest in the matter the abortion centre was claiming; instead, it concerned only the very narrow question of whether Gibbons was bound by the terms of the court injunction or not. In his rebuttal, Chan argued the abortion centre was not a victim in the matter, but rather the “beneficiary” of the terms of the court injunction.

Because Gibbons’ appeals are scheduled to begin being heard on April 24 in the Ontario Court of Appeal at 361 University Avenue in Toronto, MacDonnell said he would provide a decision on the application within 24 hours. Gibbons was not present at the hearing.

Meanwhile, fellow pro-life demonstrator Mary Wagner is scheduled to return to court May 13 and 14 at the Ontario Court of Justice, 1000 Finch Avenue West in Toronto, for the continuation of her long-running trial on charges of mischief and breaching probation orders. She is using the trial as a test case to challenge the current status of a human being in Canadian law as applying only to those fully born. Justice Fergus O’Donnell will hear arguments and consider her standing to put forth such a case.

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