On Friday, October 18, the first pro-life supporter was jailed for protesting the illegal operation of the Morgentaler abortuary in Toronto.  Judge Anthony Charlton of the Ontario Provincial Court sentenced Daniel McCash to jail for five days.  Mr. McCash, who has no previous convictions, was charged on July 22nd. with causing a disturbance by shouting.

His offence consisted of shouting at two police officers outside the abortuary.  Specifically, he raised his voice when telling two officers they should enforce the law by closing the abortuary.  According to the only witness called by the Crown, Mr. McCash was addressing the officers “not at the top of his voice.”

Judge Charlton said that the police “were obstructed in their duty to conduct people on their way to see a licensed physician.  They were targeted by Mr. McCash for what I understand to be their police duties.”

In giving his reasons for the sentence, Judge Charlton claimed, “there is a good faith in Mr. McCash.  The difficulty is that this good faith is shared by many, many people.  It is almost intellectually, morally and sociably fashionable to stomp on this clinic.”

Claiming that it was not his duty to close down the clinic, Charlton sentenced Mr. McCash to five days in jail beginning immediately.  Mr. McCash was then handcuffed and taken to Don Jail, without being allowed to call his wife.  Mr. McCash has three children and is a foster parent.

According to Paul Dodds, who represented Mr. McCash in court, “a person with no previous record is ordinarily given a discharge.”  Indeed, the prosecutor urged the court to give Mr. McCash a discharge with the only condition on his release being that he “keep the peace and be of good behaviour.”

Following the decision a shocked Mr. Dodds said “a jail sentence for this type of action Mr. McCash was convicted of is not merely rare, it is utterly unheard of.”

Earlier in the day, Judge Charlton granted an absolute discharge to a woman who had stabbed a doorman in the chest.  His reason for doing so was that it was her first offence.

Campaign Life president, Jim Hughes, calls the judgement a blatant attempt to persecute and intimidate people who are exercising their democratic rights.  “It is ludicrous,” said Mr. Hughes, “that lawbreakers are permitted to kill unborn babies while law-abiding citizens are arrested and jailed.”