May 27 was my day in court. I had been arrested by the abortuary guard and charged with trespassing several months earlier as I counseled a woman in the back alley of the Morgentaler abortuary.
In court I defended myself on the charge by stating I had a legal right to take action, under the circumstances which are far from normal or legal.
While giving my defense, I looked up occasionally and noticed that the judge seemed impatient. I felt from this reaction that I wasn’t making too many legal points with this learned man. Finally, I finished my defense and sat down.
Just as the judge was about to make a comment (probably to find me guilty) a lawyer, unknown to me, asked if he could intervene. He proceeded to state that he could not help but notice (probably with some humor) me trying to defend myself. He also made it clear that I had not retained him as legal counsel. However, he felt I did have a case because the crown had failed to point out under whose authority the security guard had arrested me. The judge concurred. The Crown objected. The judged overruled the objection and dismissed the case.
I credit this highly unusual turn of events to the power of prayer. Before my trial, I had said more than my usual quota of prayers. Also, with me in the courtroom that day were two fellow pro-lifers – Mike Lynch and Leo Beecher – both silently praying the Rosary during my trial. The outcome speaks for itself. God faithfully answered our prayers.
However, I was not so fortunate a few weeks later, when I was found guilty of another trespassing charge, and place on one year’s probation. On the day of this second charge, Tom Brown, also a sidewalk counselor, appeared in court on similar charges. His case was dismissed.
In Tom’s case, Shane, the abortuary guard, stated he was not aware of the illegal abortions taking place at 85 Harbord Street. This is after being employed at the facility for over a year!
Incidentally, Dan McCash, who was found guilty of trespassing in March and was placed on three years’ probation (the maximum for a first offence), has appealed his conviction to the District Court and the appeal will be heard soon.