The 89-year-old woman who had refused to fill census forms was acquitted.
Justice Razem Khawly's ruling to acquit Audrey Tobias came as a surprise because it is illegal for Canadians to skip out on the census in accordance with the Statistics Act. Ms Tobias was not expected to any legal excuse in her favour to prove her innocence on a logical manner. What happened in the court before the judgement was similar to what was expected. In fact, Mr Khawly utterly rejected Ms Tobias' defence. Interestingly, he called her defence a "Hail Mary pass," according to Liam Casey of the Toronto Star.
Peter Rosenthal, Ms Tobias' lawyer, argued that it would be a violation of Ms Tobias' freedom of expression and freedom of conscience. However, the judge did not take much time to reject his arguments. While there was nothing substantial to stop Ms Tobias from being sentenced, the judge surprised everyone with his own logic.
Mr Khawly said that the criminal intent behind Ms Tobias's refusal to fill census forms was reasonably doubtful. He also said that he was not sure of the intent due to conflicting testimonies and her memory. That was the reason he decided to set Ms Tobias free. Ms Tobias, on the other hand, respected the decision and said that she was grateful.
Ms Tobias is a war veteran who took part in World War II. Later on, she became a peace activist. When she was informed that the refusal of filling census forms could lead her to be forced to pay a fine or do community service, she claimed that she would do neither as it would eventually prove to be an admission of guilt.
Ms Tobias refused to fill census forms as the Canada government used software made by a U.S. company, Lockheed Martin, to perform the census. The Maryland-based company is a military contractor which supplies ammunition to the U.S. army. Ms Tobias refused to be a part of the census which was performed using U.S. military software. She said that the government should focus on promoting peace and harmony, whereas it shows its inclination toward a company that promoted war.
This is un update of the previously covered story (READ HERE)
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