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Pro Life Abortion Protestors Arrested.

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Issued by the Christian Legal Centre

Press Release

19th September 2010

Pro Life Abortion Protestors Arrested.

Two Christian pro-life protesters have recently been arrested twice by Police in Brighton and await the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service to see if they will face a Criminal Prosecution.

Andy Stephenson 35, married father of two and Katherine Sloane 19, pro-life campaigners were stood outside the BPAS clinic in Brighton on the 27th of July. They raised a banner showing an early aborted embryo near the entrance of the clinic and stood in silent protest. They had been there for about 45 minutes when they were approached by police. The police asked them to take down their pictures otherwise they would be arrested. A discussion followed as Mr Stephenson tried to explain why their actions were lawful. Mr Stephenson and Miss Sloane refused to take down the banner as they believed that they had a lawful right to protest and educate. The police therefore arrested them and took them to Brighton Police station. After having their photographs, fingerprints and DNA taken they were offered a “fixed penalty notice” instead of being prosecuted. They refused the police’s offer and requested a court hearing.

Undeterred by the threat of arrest, Mr Stephenson and Miss Sloane returned to the clinic on the 10th of August and protested in the same manner. Once again, after having stood in silent protest for 45 minutes, they were again approached by police. Mr Stephenson and Miss Sloane refused to take down the banner and so were again arrested and taken to Brighton Police Station and held for 14 hours. This time they were interviewed under caution and were supported by the Christian Legal Centre which has instructed human rights barrister Paul Diamond in the case. They have now been placed on police bail and will return on the 13th of October to hear whether the Crown Prosecution Service have authorised charge for prosecution under the Public Order Act.

Andy Stephenson says “all we were seeking to do was to highlight the dangers of abortion to the users of the BPAS clinic. The women who go to these clinics are simply not told the full story as to what abortion involves and the damage that it causes women. We always stand in complete silence and let the pictures do the talking.”

Andrea Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the case, said: "This is a test case for their democratic right to reveal what abortion really is like. This case raises important questions about whether our society will allow robust and rigorous debate about what remains a highly controversial issue.

In the 21st century it is not appropriate to silence and to censor those who speak out against abortion, even if the manner in which they do so is not how many would choose.

Many people in the UK remain horrified at the nature and scale of abortion in this country. There have been 7 million abortions in England and Wales since abortion was legalised in 1967. Obviously there are a range of ways in which people will choose to engage in this important debate depending on what they judge to be the most effective in each situation. However, the freedom to engage and provoke public debate on this matter of life and death must be safeguarded."

For further information please contact:

CLC Allied Solicitor: Michael Phillips 07739 094 499


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