Justice was actually served on Tuesday when Linda Gibbons was released from prison in Toronto. Gibbons has been in jail off an on for a total of more than five years for daring to do the unthinkable: standing silently outside an abortion clinic holding a sign.
In 1994, the city of Toronto issued a “temporary” injunction which prohibits sidewalk counseling, and even silently praying, near the Scott Clinic abortuary. This temporary injunction is still on the books 14 years later, and will likely remain there because every time Gibbons is arrested for infringing the injunction, she is charged with “obstructing a peace officer” instead of disobeying the injunction.
Why is this significant? If she were charged with disobeying the injunction, then the case could be appealed and the “temporary” injunction could be challanged, where pro-lifers hope, and pro-abortioners fear, it would be struck down. As long as the injunction isn’t reviewed, it won’t be struck down, and it won’t be reviewed if no one is charged with disobeying it. How’s that for justice?
Also, obstructing a peace officer goes directly to a judge. Disobeying an injunction would go to a jury. Isn’t that interesting?
On Tuesday, Gibbons’ judge found her not guilty of obstructing a peace officer. Overwhelming evidence in the form of pictures, video, and police testimony indicated that Gibbons did nothing to resist or obstruct the officers’ role as she was arrested. The judge indicated that she would probably be guilty of disobeying the injunction, but since she wasn’t charged with that crime, she was able to walk out of court a free woman.
This is a huge victory for pro-life ministers in the Toronto area who want to pray and counsel at Toronto-area abortuaries. This case will hopefully set a precedent that the bogus “obstructing a peace officer” charge doesn’t hold water so either Gibbons won’t be charged next time, another silly charge will be used, or they’ll actually charge her with the proper crime of disobeying a 14-year-old temporary injunction.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens next. I have no doubt Gibbons will be back outside the clinic tomorrow with her “Why Mom?” sign, and I’m equally sure the police will be there shortly after.