Reverend Ken Campbell was twice thwarted by police in his attempts to make successful citizen’s arrests of abortionists at the Toronto Morgentaler abortuary during the last week of July. On Tuesday July 20, Reverend Campbell scheduled a press conference at 87 Harbord Street, his National Headquarters for Choose Life Canada. The press conference was to coincide with a planned citizen’s arrest of abortionist Scott who did not make an appearance at the abortuary that morning. However, Reverend Campbell did attempt to arrest Nikki Colodny (an abortionist, trained by Morgentaler) and her assistant Andrea Takacs as they spoke with reporters at the rear of the abortion clinic.
“Officers, I’m laying a charge against these two persons according to the Criminal Code, Section 423 1-d,” Reverend Campbell said.
He continued, “Anyone who conspires with anyone to commit an indictable offence is guilty of an indictable offence. . .and I’m charging these two persons as being guilty of that offence and would like to deliver them to you. Would you please take them with you?”
Metro Toronto police sergeant Larry Goring resisted, saying later to reporters that “You have to find them committing an indictable offence. “Reverend Campbell confided that abortionist Colodny and her assistant approached an officer on the scene soon after the attempted arrest to ask if what they were doing was illegal and the office replied “Yes.” But they still were not arrested.
The Criminal Code say a citizen’s arrest can be made if a person:
- Witnesses a crime
- Stops someone who is being chased after a crime has been committed
- Apprehends a person committing a crime on property he owns or is legally in charge of
However, should any or even all the above requirements be met it is still up to the discretion of the policeman on the scene whether or not an arrest should be made.
“It isn’t a question of needing more evidence, it’s a question of guidelines coming down from higher up and we think they should be forthcoming.” Reverend Campbell told a reporter from the Toronto Star.
The next day, Wednesday July 31, Reverend Campbell approached abortionist Scott, as he brushed past and headed toward the abortion clinic, and said, “Robert Scott, in the name of God and under Section 449 (1) (a) of the Criminal Code, I am arresting you without warrant and charging you under Sections 423 (1) and 251 (1) of the Criminal Code with committing an indictable offence of conspiring with the operators of the illegal abortion center at 85 Harbord to unlawfully procure the miscarriage of a female person.” He then asked PC Edward Adrach to “Do your duty and cause this person to be detained.” Again the police refused to act for “lack of evidence.” Reverend Campbell then took the police into his building and presented the police with:
- A “live” telephone recording of Robert Scott’s voice counseling the procurement of illegal miscarriages
- An eye-witness report by a Globe and Mail feature writer of the illegal activities which is the business at 85 Harbord Street.
- A similar eye-witness report in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record of an abortion performed by Robert Scott at 85 Harbord.
Reverend Campbell then told the officers that they needed only to step next door to see for themselves what was going on and they refused to do so. The two officers, Sergeants Crawford and Goring, suggested they might seek a Crown Attorney’s opinion on whether or not to proceed (with an arrest). However, an Inspector Stinson came over later in the afternoon to explain that the police would not proceed with the issuing of a warrant and that they had been getting the opinions from Crown Attorney’s all along.
Reverend Campbell later commented, “After all, if what they are doing at 85 Harbord Street is legal I could be charged with false arrest. But what they are doing is illegal as the police themselves told abortionist Colodny when she asked.” He asked a Star reporter: “When a robber is acquitted and it is under appeal do we let him keep on robbing?”
Noting further the refusal of police to act he said, “The hands of the police are tied. . .they cannot make such arrests. . .it’s a political decision.