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Toronto G20 protester unapologetic as she heads to jail for 10 months

Protesters with their faces covered march along Queen Street West in Toronto on Saturday june 26, 2010 in Toronto.

Roger Hallett/The Globe and Mail/Roger Hallett/The Globe and Mail

A G20 protest organizer was sent to jail for 10 months at a noisy sentencing hearing Tuesday.

Supporters packed a suburban Toronto courtroom as Leah Henderson, 27, was sentenced for encouraging vandalism at the summit in June of last year.

Like other organizers prosecuted in the wake of the summit, Ms. Henderson was unrepentant as she addressed the court.

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"All you need to know about me is that I am a person of conscience. I came here from a place of morality. I stand here guilty of breaking your laws, not the laws of justice," she said. "I submit to your jails because you hold the weapons, but that will not always be so."

Court heard that Ms. Henderson, a native of Alberta, moved to Toronto in recent years and quickly became involved in various activist causes. She identifies as an anarchist.

Crown attorney Jason Miller said Ms. Henderson is a licensed paralegal and a talented mediator, and that she has no criminal record.

"She has a degree of maturity that is beyond that of the others we have dealt with," he said. "This cuts both ways: Ms. Henderson ought to have known better."

Mr. Miller argued that jail time was necessary to deter others in future from encouraging protest vandalism, and that Ms. Henderson's politics were irrelevant to the case.

On several occasions, Ms. Henderson's supporters snickered and made disparaging comments as Mr. Miller spoke, drawing a rebuke from Justice Lloyd Budzinsky.

"Any type of disruption in the court takes my attention away from the submissions of the crown and the submissions of the defence, and really undermines the power of their comments," he said.

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Justice Budzinsky accepted 10-month sentence, which had been agreed to by both crown and defence.

As Ms. Henderson was led away in handcuffs, supporters jumped to their feet and chanted her name.

Ms. Henderson was one of several organizers rounded up on June 26th, following an 18-month long undercover investigation by police.

The 17 remaining defendants accepted a plea agreement that will see six sent to jail while 11 others walked free. Three were sentenced last month.

Two more, Alex Hundert and Mandy Hiscocks, will be sentenced in January.

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