TORONTO, March 9, 2011 (CCRL) – The League was pleased to learn recently that the case of Linda Gibbons, who has spent nine of the past 16 years in jail for peaceful protest near a Toronto abortion clinic, will be heard in the Supreme Court of Canada. All her arrests were for violating the “temporary” injunction issued almost 16 years ago to restrict protests within 60 feet of the clinic. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case to determine whether the criminal court can be used to prosecute injunctions by civil courts.

“It is outrageous that someone whose only crime is peaceful, unobstructive protest has spent almost as much time in jail as Karla Homolka, and more than many others who have been convicted of violent crimes,” said Joanne McGarry, League executive director. “All of us at the League hope that having this case heard at the Supreme Court level will bring freedom for Mrs. Gibbons, and contribute to genuine freedom of speech.”

Daniel Santoro, the lawyer for Ms. Gibbons, told the National Post “Getting leave to the Supreme Court is very rare, and we are very excited they will hear us.” The case will be an opportunity to address the appropriateness of keeping the injunction for so many years after the circumstances in which it was issued have changed. In 1994, the abortion law had only been struck down six years earlier, and Henry Morgentaler’s clinics in Toronto were the target of large-scale protests. In May 1992, one of the clinics was firebombed.

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Pro-life activist to get Supreme Court date, National Post, Feb. 22, 2011

A beacon of light, column by David Warren, Ottawa Citizen, March 9, 2011