Supreme Court dismisses appeal by prisoner of conscience Linda Gibbons
OTTAWA, Ontario, June 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal by pro-life prisoner of conscience Linda Gibbons on Friday morning as she continues her 18-year battle to overturn a Toronto injunction banning pro-life activity outside of abortion facilities.
Gibbons was appealing a criminal charge of disobeying a court order by arguing that while the 18-year-old temporary injunction she is accused of violating was instituted by a civil court, she has since been tried in criminal courts.
Her lawyer, Daniel Santoro, argued that the Crown is taking her before the criminal court because the civil court would have the power to overturn the injunction.
But the Supreme Court agreed with the Crown in an 8-1 decision issued at 9:45 a.m. Friday.
Gibbons’s criminal charge was quashed by a lower court judge in January 2009 on the grounds that the matter was improperly heard in a criminal, rather than civil, court. But the Ontario Court of Appeal later overturned the ruling and reinstated her criminal conviction.
Gibbons has spent about 9 of the last 18 years behind bars for repeated violations of the injunction because she steadfastly refuses to accept a bail condition that requires her to stay away from the abortion facilities.
She told LifeSiteNews in 2011 that signing the bail papers would be like saying, “Yes I will cease defending innocent unborn children that are about to be killed.”
“If a two-year-old was being murdered next door, you’re not going to sit down and write a letter to your MP,” she explained. “When we’re having unborn children slaughtered at the rate we are in Canada, … should our lives go on as normal?” she asked in response. “It’s not normal to live in the Holocaust and sort of pretend it’s not happening.”
The 1994 injunction was instituted by Bob Rae’s provincial NDP government amidst calls for a government crackdown against the pro-life movement after they were declared guilty by the media for the 1992 bombing at abortionist Henry Morgentaler’s Toronto facility. Charges were never laid in that bombing, however, and the prime suspect was the father of a child aborted at the facility.
Nevertheless, the injunction has had the effect of silencing pro-lifers’ freedom of speech, and effectively impeding the life-saving work of sidewalk counselors and vigil-keepers.
Gibbons told LifeSiteNews in 2011 that she will continue to challenge the injunction “as long as God gives me life and breath. If I can get out of bed and put my feet on the floor, then I want to continue.”
“When we begin to suffer for the unborn, our identification with them, that’s when we’re going to impact society, when they see that,” she added. “The Church is not hurting enough for the unborn. When we start feeling their hurt in a real concrete way, then things are going to change, because then we’re saying very clearly that this cannot go on.”