Pro-life prisoner of conscience Linda Gibbons will go to trial in January
TORONTO, November 4, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Two months after Linda Gibbons was arrested September 2 outside Toronto’s Morgentaler abortion centre, Crown attorney Daniel Brandes has decided there is sufficient evidence to try the 67-year-old pro-life prisoner of conscience on charges of disobeying a court order.
Gibbons is charged with breaching the 1999 permanent injunction, which supplanted a 1989 interim order, that prohibits certain activities within a 500-foot bubble zone around the Morgentaler abortion facility, now housed in an office building on 727 Hillsdale Avenue in the upscale Leaside neighborhood.
Following a Tuesday court appearance at College Park, Gibbons’s six-hour trial was set for January 13, 2016.
Brandes told the Court at the time that he had been in discussion with Gibbons’ lawyer Daniel Santoro. “He and I have done this many times before together."
He also stated he had further disclosures of evidence, including a short statement from a security guard present at the site the date of the “alleged offence,” and color photographs of events that led to Gibbons’ arrest.
Before she was apprehended, Gibbons had walked peacefully back and forth for almost two hours in front of the abortion center, holding a sign of a crying baby with the words “Why Mom, when I have so much love to give,” as well as pamphlets and a model of a ten-week-old unborn baby.
When the police and a sheriff then arrived, the latter read Gibbons the injunction three times, to no effect. Gibbons was then handcuffed and led away, but not before she told the sheriff: “You arrest me while allowing the murder of babies? You have blood on your hands.”
Brandes told the Court that Gibbons could be released on her own recognizance, but on the condition she not go within a specified distance of abortion facilities in the city of Toronto.
“Obviously she would not like to avail herself of that, and that’s her prerogative,” he said. “This is a sort of standard modus operandi for her.”
Because Gibbons cannot in conscience agree to such bail conditions, she will remain in custody until her January court date – bringing her time in jail for this arrest to four months and 10 days at that point.
Gibbons will have then spent just a week shy of 11 years in jail for her peaceful witness to mothers and unborn children immediately threatened by the violence of abortion.
Her “modus operandi” also includes remaining silent in court, in solidarity with the silent victims of abortion.
But on Tuesday, Gibbons, who was dressed in the jailhouse outfit of dark green sweatshirt and sweatpants and with her grey hair closely cropped, smiled, blew kisses and crossed her hands over her heart to acknowledge her ten supporters in the courtroom, before she was handcuffed and led away.
She was also wearing flip-flops because she’d broken her toe, according to Mary Wagner, one of the supporters.
Wagner, 41, who has herself spent about four years in jail for similar pro-life witness, explained that Vanier Centre for Women’s maximum security wings are usually overcrowded and two inmates are held in cells meant for one, with one woman sleeping on a mattress on the cell’s sole steel bed, and the other on a mattress on the floor.
That was the case when Gibbons, with scarcely any room to maneuver, stubbed her toe on the cell’s cinderblock wall. She will be getting it x-rayed to confirm a doctor’s diagnosis that she’d broken it, Wagner said.
First arrested for pro-life counseling in 2000, Wagner, originally from BC, was released from jail July 2015 after seven months in jail.
Wagner has previously asked that people not “focus on me and my hardships” but rather, as she wrote in a letter read at the last March for Life, focus on the “many mothers who end up at these places where their children are brutally killed.”
Meanwhile, a close friend of Gibbons said the jailed pro-life grandmother had hoped she would be released today, and had even made tentative plans to visit her elderly mother in BC, whose 94th birthday was also on Tuesday.
Gibbons’s unrealized hope was based on the Crown’s twice dropping charges against her, following her arrests outside the Morgentaler abortion center in August 2014 and March 2015.
She spent three months and seven weeks in jail, respectively, before the Crown finally ascertained on both those occasions that its case was identical to an earlier conviction that had been tossed out on appeal by Ontario Superior Court Justice Gary Trotter in July 2014.
That, evidently, is not what the Crown has decided this time.
Gibbons’s one-day trial will be held January 13 in Room 509 at Toronto’s College Park Court.
Her address at Vanier Women’s Centre is: 655 Martin St, Milton, ON, L9T 2Y1.