An Ontario Court judge threw out charges against an 89-year-old woman who refused to submit her 2011 Canadian census.
Audrey Tobias was found not guilty today at Toronto’s Old City Hall court, where the judge said she shouldn’t have been brought before the courts in the first place.
Judge Ramez Khawly acquitted Tobias, who was charged with violating the Statistics Act after she refused to complete and return her 2011 census. The charge carries a fine of $500, three months in prison or both.
“I want to thank the judge for his careful analysis and his result in which he found me not guilty,” Tobias said. “He put a lot of work into that and I respect him and I’m grateful.”
Tobias, who served in the Women’s Reserve Naval Service in the Second World War said she refused to complete the census because she doesn’t stands morally opposed to companies, such as US-based arms manufacture Lockheed Martin, which was contracted to process the information.
Lockheed Martin also makes the F-35, currently being eyed as Canada’s next-gen fighter jet.
Defence counsel, Peter Rosenthal argued that filling out the census violated Tobias’ of free expression.
Khawly said he believed Tobias’ intentions were morally driven.
“He said for conviction you need an Actus Reus to do something and Mens Rea, the appropriate mental state and he found that she did not have the mental state to make her guilty,” Rosenthal told media outside the courthouse.
Tobias said she was willing to go to jail if found guilty.
“I would have done whatever was necessary. Under no circumstances would I pay a fine, which is a way of saying I’m guilty. I don’t feel guilty,” she said.
A relieved Tobias told reporters outside Toronto’s Old City Hall Court:
“I have to respect the whole procedure. I think it was thoughtful, and wasn’t hurried; they took all the time necessary,” she said.