Bench Press 38-2: Elderly Martyr - LawNow Magazine

Bench Press 38-2: Elderly Martyr

Bench PressAudrey Tobias is an 89-year-old peace activist who refused to fill out the 2011 Census because the results would be processed using software from U.S. military contractor Lockheed Martin. She was charged under the Statistics Act. She argued that forcing her to fill in the census would violate her Charter right to freedom of conscience and freedom of expression.  Judge Khawly of the Ontario Court of Justice decided that Tobias’s testimony left him in doubt of her intent in not filling out the form, and without intent, there could be no criminal act. Judge Khawly made some interesting observations, noting that the Justice Department shouldn’t have prosecuted an elderly peace activist who was a “model citizen”, thereby making her into a “martyr in the making”. He further commented: “Anyone in Justice who had not seen that coming should be ushered into an introductory marketing course”.

Court decision not freely available online.

Allison Jones and Hannah Spray, “Elderly ‘martyr in the making’ acquitted on census charge”,  Calgary Herald, October 10, 2013



Teresa Mitchell
Teresa Mitchell
Teresa Mitchell is the former Editor and Legal Writer for LawNow at the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta.

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