BANNED FROM CANADA

Shoving a tofu cream pie in Gail Shea’s face gets Emily McCoy convicted for assault and banned from Canada

The Canadian Press ~ The News
Published on March 17, 2011
Fisheries Minister Gail Shea, the MP for the P.E.I. riding of Egmont, reacts after getting a pie in the face in Burlington, Ont., Monday. The top images show the incident unfolding as captured by CHCH, a TV station based in Hamilton, Ont. The final image shows the woman charged with assault in the incident, Emily McCoy. Top photos special to The Guardian by the CanWest News Service. Bottom photo by The Canadian Press

An American woman is banned from entering Canada for two years for planting a pie in the face of the federal fisheries minister to protest the seal hunt.

A judge in Milton, Ont., today convicted Emily McCoy of assault for shoving a tofu cream pie in Gail Shea’s face at an event in Burlington, Ont., in January 2010.

Lawyer James Silver says the judge placed the New York City woman on probation for two years with some strict conditions.

Silver says McCoy is banned from returning to Canada or having any contact with Shea or the fisheries ministry during her probation.

Silver says the conditions also prohibit McCoy from contact with any Canadian institutions such as embassies or consulates.

McCoy told the court prior to sentencing that she hadn’t properly considered the consequences of her actions.

“I never considered the extent of the consequences of my actions in protesting the violent seal slaughter,” McCoy said in her statement.

“I assaulted an elected government official,” she said.

The Crown agreed to the probationary sentence, but Silver said prosecutors made it clear they would have sought jail time except for extenuating circumstances in McCoy’s case.

“When she was motivated to go in and try and bring attention to this cause that she believes in so deeply, her motivations were well intentioned,” Silver said.

“The means of implementing those motivations were not only inappropriate, but illegal,” he said.

The court also considered that McCoy doesn’t fit the usual criminal demographics, Silver said.

What brought her before the court was a “misguided attempt” to bring attention to the seal hunt, he said.

“She recognizes now that this is over the line,” Silver added.

Silver said while the sentence may appear to be a slap in the wrist, it does have far-reaching implications for his client.

Apart from the criminal record, he said it also bars McCoy from continuing her protest of the seal hunt, even in a peaceful way because of the ban on communication with Canadian officials.