Linda Gibbons' court challenge hits a roadblock

  • September 8, 2010

Linda Gibbons

TORONTO   - The ongoing legal battles of pro-life activist Linda Gibbons received a setback at a Sept. 2 hearing when a judge ruled the case against her did not breach her Charter rights and that her lawyer was not entitled to view nine-year-old documents held by the crown attorney.

Gibbons’ next court date was set for Sept. 30.

Lawyer Daniel Santoro said he was disappointed with the decisions but withheld further comment until after having a chance to review the judge’s detailed ruling, expected to be released during the week of Sept. 7.

Santoro argued that there was an “abuse of process” when the crown continued enforcing a temporary injunction order without immediately proceeding to a trial. He also argued that the case was not constitutional because the crown charged Gibbons in criminal court while the injunction was issued by a civil court.

With respect to access to documents, Santoro wanted to review memoranda between the offices of the Attorney General and the crown attorney from 2001. But the crown argued that the information was protected by solicitor-client privilege.

Gibbons was charged in January 2009 with mischief to property and breaking a court order. She has been in jail since then because she refuses to agree to bail conditions that would require her to follow a 1994 Supreme Court of Ontario injunction order.

Santoro has applied to the Supreme Court of Canada to have that 16-year-old order overturned but has not heard if Canada’s highest court will hear his case. He is questioning whether the federal government can create an offence of disobedience for an Ontario court order.

Over the past 16 years, Gibbons, a 62-year-old great-grandmother, has been arrested 20 times and served eight years in jail for picketing outside a downtown Toronto abortion clinic.

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