TORONTO, Mar 1 (  Judge Gordon Hackburn today acquitted Linda Gibbons, Anneliese Steden and Rev. Ken Campbell of the charge “obstruct a police officer”, laid against them for their peaceful protest at Toronto’s Scott abortuary on Sept. 9, 1998.

Hackburn acquitted Gibbons, who has been imprisoned on the charge since Sept. 9, because the Crown did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that the abortuary was operating at the time of the incident. Steden and Campbell were acquitted because the arresting officers by-passed required procedures and arrested the pair without first calling upon the Sheriff.

Unfortunately, the pro-lifers were once again denied the opportunity to challenge the constitutionality of the extraordinary injunction under which they were arrested. The opportunity may yet come since these repeated acquittals may force the Attorney General to allow the proper charge to be laid against future violations of the injunction. The charge of “violate a court order” would be tried in a higher court with a jury and would be more open to constitutional arguments.

All three pro-lifers have been released.