After 28 months of uninterrupted imprisonment for witnessing outside a Toronto abortion facility, pro-life prisoner of conscience Linda Gibbons was set free June 3.
The great-grandmother had been in prison since January 2009, when she was arrested outside the downtown Toronto Scott Clinic abortuary, which is protected by a 1994 court “temporary” injunction banning pro-life activity within a specified zone.
She has remained behind bars because she refuses to accept a bail condition that requires her to stay away from the abortion facilities.
Her lawyer, Daniel Santoro, told LifeSiteNews that she has now been released without any conditions. He said there was an irregularity in the process that was holding her in custody. Justice Mara Beth Greene has now fixed the problem by issuing Gibbons a summons requiring her to attend court on Jan. 16. “The summons did not require her to agree to anything,” Santoro explained. “She didn’t have to promise anything, or acknowledge anything, or sign anything.”
Gibbons has spent over eight years behind bars since the bubble zone injunction was laid down in 1994, as she has been repeatedly arrested for praying outside the facilities and asking women to reconsider their choice to have an abortion.
Throughout the years, the Crown has prosecuted Gibbons through the criminal courts, even though she is accused of breaching an injunction from a civil court. Her lawyers have argued that the Crown has taken this route to avoid a constitutional challenge to the injunction.
Currently a case involving Gibbons is waiting to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. Her lawyers are asking the nation’s highest court to overturn an Ontario Court of Appeal decision reinstating a criminal conviction on a charge of disobeying a court order. The charge had originally been quashed by a lower court judge on the grounds that the matter was improperly heard in a criminal, rather than civil, court.
A version of this article originally appeared June 6 at LifeSiteNews.com and is reprinted with permission.