Attorney General Marion Boyd has been ordered to testify under oath as to why she is pursuing an injunction banning pro-life picketing.
Justice J. Adams ruled on November 3 that Boyd should be examined under oath. Lawyers for the Attorney General sought leave to appeal that order but Justice O’Driscoll decided on November 25 not to grant it.
Counsel for the Attorney General had written on October 20 that they were “not prepared to produce the Attorney General for examination” after lawyers for the pro-life defendants had announced their intention of cross examining her.
Lawyers for the 18m pro-life defendants argue some of them have been targeted by the government not because of their picketing activities but because they are opposed to the NDP position on abortion and that Marion Boyd has singled out these defendants because of their high public and political profiles in the pro-life movement.
“The objective of the Attorney General, as the representative of government in these proceedings, are clearly relevant to the defendants’ Charter defence,” wrote Justice Adams in his ruling, “ and the questions they wish to put to her, in my view, bear sufficient relationship to such Charter issues for the motions to succeed.”
The lawyers representing the pro-lifers argued that the Attorney General has information knowledge and belief about matters related to the case. Among the things they plan to ask her are:
- Why Marion Boyd made a statement last March acknowledging that an injunction would infringe the defendants’ freedom of assembly. The defendants would like to get this admission under oath as to the effect of the injunction on their basic rights and freedoms.
- Why in May of this year Boyd made another public statement saying it would be appropriate for people to picket in front of homes of husbands who stalk their wives. The defendants want her to testify under oath about the principle which governs these different kinds of home picketing.
- Why the Attorney General accepted the recommendation of a task force report calling for the injunction. The defendants want to question her on the circumstances which led her to accept the report and the basis for her conclusion that a public nuisance exists.
- Why she and her staff selected the named defendants.
- Why she delayed before commencing the action for an injunction.
- What the objective of the Attorney General is in seeking the injunction.
In dismissing the motion for leave to appeal Judge O’Driscoll ordered the Attorney General to pay $5,000 in costs to the defendants.