Finally, there is the Dave Forsyth trial in which the arguments against the Magistrates are summed up eloquently. Dave Forsyth was tried for his third rescue on June 15. I was deeply honored to act as counsel for him. The following are a few quotations from his statement:
It is my conviction that the unborn human being is exactly that – a human being. As such, I stand convicted by this court for attempting to save the life of a human being. To do so, I had to contravene this court’s order, which prohibits such activity. I am told that I must pursue other ways – political, legal or educational – to save the lives of the unborn. To this I will answer with a quote from Henry David Thoreau:
‘As for adopting the ways which the State has provided for remedying the evil, I know no such ways. They take too much time and a life will be gone.’
I ask this Court, how else was I to attempt to prevent the deaths of the children who were killed on the morning of June 6 at Vancouver’s free-standing abortion clinic?
The statement has been made several times during the course of earlier trials that this Court is not present to deal with morality, but, rather, must simply administer the law of the land. This has resulted in a steadfast refusal of this Court to consider the morality of killing unborn children. Testimony relating to the humanity and individuality of the unborn child has been refused and rejected as being irrelevant to the issue at hand. The refusal to view the video The Silent Scream is merely another example of this. I contend that this refusal to educate oneself as to the real nature of the act of abortion is a complete miscarriage of the duties of this Court. This is because this Court is not present simply to administer law; it is present to administer justice, as the title given our Lordship so clearly implies.
If morality is not a consideration in the conduct of a court of law, then how could the judgments at Nuremberg have been made? There, the Nazi officials attempted to evade responsibility for their actions with statements strikingly similar to those the learned Justices have been making in these proceedings: ‘I am bound to administer the law as it stands; I am not here to consider morality but the law; I am not here to administer the law of God, but the law of Canada. I realize that the Justices have been placed in a difficult position. But the Nuremberg proceedings rejected such arguments as hopelessly inadequate. The judgments at Nuremberg established that individuals have a moral duty to disobey inhumane and unjust orders and laws.
I have been made aware of several children whose mothers have decided to keep them rather than kill them as a result of the actions taken by others and myself. I greatly look forward to meeting these children one day. They are my reward, I will have participated in granting them the gift of life and I will endeavor to work to create and maintain a world worth living in.
What will the learned justices of this Court have to say to these children? They must say that, if their will had been obeyed, these children would not have lived. How can this be right? How can it be right that a simple choice – a decision made quite apart from the person whose life is at stake – can be allowed to determine whether or not a unique individual – someone existing in the same form as you or I or anyone else in this room once did in our mother’s womb – is granted the right to live out his or her life? Do we not value our own lives enough to allow that others might also partake the natural fulfillment of their own life?…
Let me say, finally, that I am quite prepared to endure any sentence this Court sees fit to impose. But let it be known that it is not for seeking to defy this court or to undermine its authority that I am sentenced. It is for attempting to live out the simple, yet incredibly profound command of Christ to love my neighbor as myself.
Judge Bouck’s Verdict:
The following is an excerpt from Justice John Bouck’s judgment on Friday, July 14, when he imposed the heaviest sentences so far arising from the anti-abortionist demonstrations outside the Everywoman’s Health ‘clinic’ in Vancouver.
Sometimes Canadians do not always appreciate the importance of preserving the rule of law. Court orders are not just meaningless pieces of paper. They are meant to symbolize the highest of human values. They represent an attempt by human beings to agree to settle their differences by reason and argument instead of violence and bloodshed.
Too often these rules and institutions are taken for granted. Many forged the hard battles that were fought and the efforts made by our predecessors for us to get where we are today.
There are millions of people beyond Canada who envy our parliamentary and legal systems. They are not perfect, but they are the best that Canadians of goodwill can reasonably devise. Yet, they can be destroyed overnight if they are not defended.
In this case, the rules of law that allow persons opposed to abortion to peacefully picket outside the clinic, without physical violence from people of a different mind, are rules the defendants and others rely upon for their protection. Quite rightly, they expect the courts to enforce these rules if they are broken by others.
I suspect they would reasonably argue that persons who might attack them could not rely on a defense of acting in good conscience. But they now claim the right to break the rule preventing them from blockading the entrance to the clinic. They say they alone have a right to break the law because of their good conscience.
Refusing to comply with the terms of a court order invites anarchy. It only encourages others to do the same thing. When that happens, justice is placed in jeopardy.
Goals which the original objectors in these proceedings seek to accomplish may never be realized. Any new laws designed to meet their complaints may in turn be ignored by their opponents. These opponents will then be encouraged to picket for their own cause.
Society will disintegrate
On the basis of their conscience, they may then refuse to obey orders of the court enforcing the new law. Those pretending to obey their conscience today will be calling for the imprisonment of their adversaries tomorrow. Disorder will continue. Nothing lasting will be gained.
If every individual with sincere moral beliefs incompatible with the law can successfully defend himself against court orders he does not like on the basis of conscience, there will be no law. Society will disintegrate and what many fought so hard to achieve will be lost.
Morality does play a part in the law. But it is the morality of the collective majority of Canadians as expressed through Parliament…Those who think the majority are wrong can express their views through democratic means or forever play the role of a martyr.
A judge takes an oath of office to uphold the law, not his or her personal points of view. For me to give a judgment based on my own personal beliefs, where they are inconsistent with the law, means I must break my oath of office. I don’t intend to do that.
Justice based upon the whim of a judge is no justice at all. A country with no rule of law is no country at all…
One or two of the accused compared me to those judges in Nazi Germany who sentenced the Jews to prison or death by applying immoral German law. They say I am sentencing them to prison because of the immorality of the injunction. Reason is unlikely to penetrate such minds. All I can do is be true to my oath and be as fair as possible to both sides.
What is happening here is a conspiracy to obstruct justice. None of the accused simply decided to lie down in the doorway of the clinic as they were passing by at 6 a.m. on July 4, 1989. Nor was it just a matter of coincidence that some attached themselves to the same cement block with locks.
They obviously agreed amongst themselves to breach the injunction and they did it in the most effective way they could invent. They were all partners in the obstruction.
With this brief analysis, it is obvious that harsher sentences must be imposed…I do so with no sense of bitterness, vengeance or enthusiasm, but rather with a feeling of sorrow.
These are ordinary law-abiding people who are consumed with one issue in their lives. They do not see the potential harm their conduct can bring to the very kind of society they are trying to achieve.
If their behavior goes unpunished, we may have a society with no abortions, but we may end up having a country that is not worth living in.
Taken from the Vancouver Sun, Tuesday, July 18, 1989