On August 15, Ontario Court of Justice judge Eric N. Libman found Mary Wagner, 43, guilty of mischief and breach of probation. She was convicted on charges arising from her Dec. 12, 2016, arrest at the Bloor West Village Women’s Clinic, where she had tried to persuade women to choose life for their unborn children rather than kill them through abortion.
Wagner’s trial began May 25 and proceeded intermittently until closing arguments on June 29. The trial was delayed after the Crown sought a media publication ban of any information identifying three abortion facility personnel. On June 9, Libman ruled against a ban, but Superior Court Justice Ian Nordheimer subsequently granted a ban on June 12. His ruling prohibits the publication of the names of three abortion center personnel who testified against Wagner. LifeSiteNews is fighting the ban, which is expected to be argued on Sept. 18.
While finding her guilty, Libman acknowledged Wagner :wished to reach out in love, support them.” He called her testimony “thoughtful comments” on interfering with the “business of the abortion center” which the defendant did not recognize as legitimate. “In her view,” Libman said in his decision, the business of the abortion facility “is to take the life of an unborn child,” and “there can be no greater injustice than that.” Wagner “believed she was upholding the law in the manner in which she acted.”
Still, he found her guilty because Wagner “entered the clinic through a subterfuge,” and that once in the abortion facility, had to be “removed by force” because she would not leave when asked. “In my opinion, this intentional and deliberate conduct of Miss Wagner clearly amounts to the offence of mischief.”
He also found Wagner guilty of breaching the condition in both the 2012 probation order of Justice Mavis Wong and 2015 order of Justice Katrina Mulligan that she keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
Sentencing was deferred to Sept. 12. Crown counsel Craig Power said he wants Wagner sentenced to 18 months in jail. She has already served 180 days awaiting trial because she refused to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion centres. She was released June 9 on the sole condition she return for the remainder of her trial when Lifesite lawyer Phil Horgan made the request during the publication ban hearing.
Libman said at the conclusion of the trial he would take character references into consideration when making his sentencing decision.
Campaign Life Coalition launched a letter-writing campaign in support of Wagner asking its supporters last month to send a letter of character reference to the judge by Sept. 8.
CLC national president Jim Hughes told supporters in an email that Wagner has “a unique approach to pro-life witnessing.” she enters “the abortuary waiting room, gently offering pregnant mothers a rose, and … speak(s) to them about alternatives to abortion, including crisis pregnancy support.” Hughes added, “Campaign Life Coalition agrees with Mary that laws which protect those who kill children, and at the same time jail those who speak out for the human rights of those children, are unjust. Mary deserves praise, not prison.” Thousands of people seem to agree. A week before the Sept. 8 deadline, more than 11,000 emails and 200 letters of support were sent to CLC’s offices to be forwarded to Judge Libman.