In a move which caught pro-lifer observers off-guard, a judge ruled that 16 of 18 pro-life activists who were named in an Ontario lawsuit will not receive legal expenses.

With the exception of Erroll Alchim, Justice George Adams ruled that the 16 other defendants must cover their own legal expenses.  Jane Ubertino (also dropped from the suit), who was represented by Peter Lauwers, received her full costs.

The early March ruling comes as a grave disappointment to both lawyers and leaders on the pro-life side.  David Brown and Peter Jervis both dedicated many hours, representing the 17.  Both felt that because both government lawyers, Clayton Ruby and Morris Manning, reportedly received over $700,000 in legal fees from the government, it was a good bet that the judge would be sympathetic to their claims.

The decision will also make it extremely hard for the pro-life movement Campaign Life Coalition, which is backing the remaining defendants, to effectively fight the government when the case goes to trial.  Clare Dodds, CLC’s legal representative, said that the ruling will also “force us to raise money to pay for court costs rather than putting money towards fighting the battle over abortion and euthanasia.”

The one upside of the ruling has been that Justice Adams refused to order the defendants to pay $75,000 to the government for legal costs.