Court Recognizes Change
SEVERAL years ago, a young Canadian woman involved in illegal drug traffic unwittingly sold drugs to an undercover police agent. A nationwide warrant for her arrest was issued, but for over seven years police were unable to apprehend her. In the meantime, she began a study of the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and what she was learning caused her conscience to plague her. She finally decided to turn herself over voluntarily to the authorities.
However, a lawyer advised her to plead not guilty to the charge, due to the passage of time and the unavailability of witnesses. Her insistence on honesty in the matter upset the lawyer so much that he launched into a description of the degraded conditions in a woman’s prison and the consequences of leaving her children without a mother.
But rather than compromise her conscience, she obtained another lawyer, and her case was heard before the Alberta Supreme Court. The defense presented her record of complete rehabilitation through association with Jehovah’s Witnesses and the part Bible studies had in developing a strong conscience. Even though only unique and exceptional circumstances would deter the Court from ordering imprisonment due to the seriousness of her offense, she was given just a six-month suspended sentence with no fine or requirement to report to a probation officer!