Charges against one pro-life campaigner dropped but case continues
Watch BBC South East News report on case against Kathryn Sloane and Andrew Stephenson
A District Judge has struck out the charges against pro-life campaigner, Kathryn Sloane, who stood trial this week at Brighton Magistrates Court for showing pictures of aborted foetuses outside an abortion clinic in Brighton.
Miss Sloane and Andrew Stephenson from Abort67 were arrested and charged with “obstructing police” after resisting attempts by officers to remove the images during a peaceful demonstration outside the Wistons BPAS abortion clinic in June 2011. But that charge was dismissed yesterday (13 September) by District Judge Nicholson who ruled that the arresting officers had “no power” to attempt to seize the display.
Mr Stephenson however continues to face charges under the Public Order Act for causing harassment, alarm or distress to the public.
The Prosecution will be required to prove that the images in question were “abusive” or “insulting” for the charges against Mr Stephenson to be upheld. However, one of the arresting officers, PC Rush, accepted in court that he had only intervened because he had found the images “disgusting”.
Andrea Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre who is supporting Mr Stephenson’s case, said:
“Showing pictures that are ‘disgusting’ in a public place does not automatically make it illegal.
“The reality is that these signs of 8 week and 11 week old aborted foetuses may well be distressing, may well be upsetting, but they are true images and therefore cannot be abusive or insulting”.
Mr Stephenson’s trial will continue next week.