R. v. Gibbons (L.D.) 2012 SCC 28
Criminal Law - Offences against the administration of law and justice - Disobedience and obstruction - Disobedience of court order
In 1994, an interlocutory injunction was issued by the court prohibiting anti- abortion protest activity at various places in Ontario, including the Scott Clinic in Toronto. Among the activity enjoined was the display of signs within 60 feet of the clinic property. Among the persons named in the injunction was Linda Gross, now known as Linda Gibbons. On October 8, 2008, Linda Gibbons displayed a sign within 60 feet of the Scott Clinic. She was charged (summary conviction) with disobeying a court order under s. 127(1) of the Criminal Code. Section 127(1) provided that it did not apply where “a punishment or other mode of proceeding is expressly provided for by law”. At the commencement of trial in the Ontario Court of Justice, Gibbons moved to quash the information on the grounds that the Rules of Civil Procedure exempted a prosecution under s. 127.
The Ontario Court of Justice granted the motion and quashed the information. The Crown appealed.
The Ontario Superior Court (summary conviction appeal court), in a decision reported  O.T.C. Uned. E61, allowed the appeal, holding that the trial judge erred in quashing the information as being null and void. A new trial was ordered. Gibbons applied for leave to appeal, to argue that her conduct was beyond the reach of s. 127(1) because another “punishment or other mode of proceeding is expressly provided by law” for her conduct under the Rules of Civil Procedure (i.e., the contempt provisions).
The Ontario Court of Appeal, in a decision reported 258 O.A.C. 182, granted leave to appeal, but dismissed her appeal. The court held that the conduct alleged fell within the sweep of the offence created by s. 127(1) and was not excluded from its operation by the availability of a proceeding for contempt under the Rules of Civil Procedure. Gibbons appealed.
The Supreme Court of Canada, Fish, J., dissenting, dismissed the appeal.