TORONTO, Ontario, November 16, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Prosecutors will be seeking a 4-6 month jail term, in addition to probation orders, against 36-year-old pro-life activist Mary Wagner who was arrested in November after entering an abortion clinic in Toronto to counsel women to choose life.
Wagner is set to stand trial on three charges at the College Park courthouse in downtown Toronto on February 27 and 28, 2012.
Representing herself, Wagner made an appearance at College Park this past Monday in connection with her arrest at the Bloor West Village “Women’s Clinic” abortion site on November 8. She had refused bail conditions set during a previous court appearance on November 9 and remains in custody.
Wagner faces charges of mischief and two counts of failing to comply with a probation order relating to a previous arrest for entering an abortion facility to offer pro-life counseling. Bail conditions had included a provision to stay away from so-called women’s clinics, but Wagner told Judge Feroza Bhabha that agreeing to such “would be contrary to my beliefs.” Wagner added that she would not be pleading guilty and, despite Bhabha’s urging that professional legal counsel would be helpful, declined legal aid.
A four-page synopsis of the alleged events of November 8 was provided to Wagner in the prisoner’s box, as full disclosure of the Crown’s case was said to be not yet available. Bhabha set court dates of December 13 and January 10, also at College Park, to review the status of the disclosure and continue with pre-trial proceedings.
Crown attorney Sarah Gray said prosecutors will be seeking “victim input” from people who were “harassed” by Wagner at the abortion site. Gray anticipated that two arresting police officers and an abortion site employee will be called as witnesses at the trial.
Watching the proceedings from the public gallery was Linda Gibbons, who was recently released from the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton where Wagner is being housed. Gibbons was also present outside the abortion facility when Wagner was arrested.
She expressed dismay that Wagner will have to make no fewer than four court appearances in the near future. She said that being transported from the jail to downtown Toronto for court appearances can easily become a 14-hour day, between being prepared at the jail, the vehicular journey through rush hour traffic and the inevitable long waits for all the transported prisoners’ hearings to be completed.
“I’d rather spend one week in jail than one day going to court,” Gibbons remarked.