After judge tells arrested pro-life activist ‘your God’s wrong,’ lawyers file appeal
Thu Apr 05, 2012 16:15 EST
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Pro-life activist Mary Wagner
by Peter Baklinski
TORONTO, Ontario, April 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After an Ontario Court of Justice judge erupted in a lengthy, angry tirade against pro-life activist Mary Wagner two weeks ago, telling her, “you’re wrong and your God’s wrong,” and sending her back to jail for mischief and failing to comply with probation orders, Wagner’s defense team has decided to appeal the decision. They also said they may launch a judicial complaint about what they called the judge’s ‘bias’ during the sentencing process.
The charges brought against Wagner stem from her November arrest at Bloor West Village Women’s Clinic, where she brought roses and pamphlets into the abortion center in an attempt to reach 10-12 women who were lined up to have their babies aborted. Wagner was reportedly asked to leave several times, but she refused.
Wagner has been arrested on several occasions for peacefully entering abortion facilities in Toronto, where she attempts to dissuade women from having their babies killed.
During the ruling, Wagner’s defense counsel Russell Browne and Crown attorney Derek Ishak made a joint submission to Mr. Justice S. Ford Clements to have Wagner’s punishment lessened. The judge overruled their submission.
Wagner’s defense team, Russell Browne and Peter Boushy appeared on SunNews last week and told host Ezra Levant that they have solid grounds upon which to file an appeal.
“Firstly we are asking the higher court to overturn the conviction, the mischief count, and to overturn the sentence of 6 months. First of all, it is clearly excessive, secondly there was a joint submission between Russell and the Crown which was jumped by the judge,” said Boushy, Wagner’s lead counsel for the appeal.
The appeal was filed with the Superior Court of Justice on March 28th.
In the appeal, Wagner’s defense team argued, “the honorable justice erred during the sentencing process when inter alia [among other things], he stated ‘your God is wrong’ thus giving rise to reasonable apprehension of bias.”
“Our judges are to be unbiased. Furthermore, there is to be no unreasonable apprehension of bias,” said Boushy.
Boushy told LifeSiteNews that there has been an expression of interest from the Catholic Civil Rights League and the Christian Legal Fellowship to possibly intervene in Wagner’s case.
Even though Wagner will be out of jail by the time the appeal is heard, Boushy said that filing the appeal is important for “policy reasons and for administration of justice reason.”
“At the end of the day if people like Mary Wagner and Linda Gibbons insist on breaking the law, it’s in society’s interest and the interests of the pro-life movement that they be treated fairly,” he said.
Wagner’s defense team was instructed today to appear before the Superior Court judge in a ‘practice ready court’ on June 26th to advise the judge about the stage of the appeal process.
Boushy told SunNews that his team will wait to consider filing a complaint to the Judicial Council against Justice Clements until the official transcripts of the case have been received.
“Out of fairness to the judge we are going to wait for the transcripts. We ordered four copies of the transcripts. Hopefully we will receive those in the next month or two.”
Levant commented on his show that religious people ought to be “outraged” by Justice Clement’s blatant attack on religion.
“To me, to say ‘Mary Wager you’re a waste of resources, Mary Wagner stop bugging me, stop bugging these abortion people’ I think that’s all within the ambit of the criminal law [in reference to] nuisance, trespass, mischief,” he said.
“But then to say ‘You’re wrong and your God is wrong’…I put it to you Russell [Browne], that if this was said to a Muslim, a Jewish, a Buddhist, or a Sikh defendant, it would be an outrage.”