Canadian peace activist acquitted of refusing to fill out census form

Oct. 10, 2013 at 1:24 AM
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TORONTO, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Audrey Tobias, a World War II vet turned anti-war activist, was acquitted Wednesday of refusing to fill out a Canadian census form as a protest.

Judge Ramez Khawly, who heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice, said the government engaged in a "ham-fisted, mean-spirited prosecution," The National Post reported. While Khawly rejected the defense arguments that the prosecution violated Tobias's right to freedom of conscience, expression and religion, he found the prosecution did not prove she intended to violate the Statistics Act.

Tobias refused to fill out the short-form census in 2011 because Statistics Canada had hired U.S. aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin to provide the software.

"Someone in their wisdom thought that Ms. Tobias was exactly the type of individual of which an example should be made of for violating the law," Khawly said.

"It is clear that just because an arm of the government recommends a prosecution does not mean that the Department of Justice will necessarily go along with it."

Tobias served in the Women's Naval Reserve during World War II.

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