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Sask. father found guilty of withholding daughter to prevent her from getting COVID-19 vaccine

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Michael Gordon Jackson, a Saskatchewan man accused of abducting his daughter to prevent her from getting a COVID-19 vaccine, has been found guilty for contravention of a custody order.

Following two weeks of proceedings, the jury’s verdict handed down Friday found Jackson, 55, withheld his then 7-year-old daughter from her mother in late 2021 to early 2022. Police eventually found the pair in Vernon, B.C. 

While the motive was undisputed, Crown prosecutor Zoey Kim Zeggelaar said the results of Jackson's actions were in direct contravention of the Order.

"The intent to carry out the act - that being the taking of the child from her mother - is where we directed our attention," she said.  

There were 14 jury members selected to hear the two week long case. Prior to deliberations on Friday morning, two members were randomly removed.  

“I am the judge of the law,” Justice Heather MacMillian-Brown told the jury on Friday morning. “You are the judge of the facts. It is your duty to judge what the facts are.”

“What matters is what [Jackson] did. Not the reasons for why [he] did it,” she added.

Justice MacMillian-Brown summarized evidence that was presented over the course of the trial and also reiterated advice she gave the jury over the course of the last two weeks.

“The torch now passes to you to decide a verdict based on the evidence in its entirety.” she said before releasing the jury to deliberate.

The 12 members of the jury were sequestered until their final verdict was reached. They took just two and a half hours to reach their unanimous decision.  

“I am pleased that at the end of the day, there’s an outcome that has generated some accountability. I know that the individuals involved … they’ve waited a long time for this outcome to happen.”Zeggelaar said. 

Despite the guilty verdict, Jackson's bail conditions allow him to remain out of custody. 

He did not comment to media following the decision.

A date for his sentencing will be decided later. 

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