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Twice-Commended Policeman to take Employers to Tribunal over Harassment of his Traditional Christian values

Printer-friendly versionA POLICEMAN, twice commended by his force for his loyalty and diligence, is to take his force to the Employment Tribunal on grounds of harassment because of his traditional Christian values.

Issued on behalf of the Christian Legal Centre

Press Release

For Immediate Release

21 July 2008

Twice-Commended Policeman to take Employers to Tribunal over Harassment of his Traditional Christian values

A POLICEMAN, twice commended by his force for his loyalty and diligence, is to take his force to the Employment Tribunal on grounds of harassment because of his traditional Christian values.

PC Graham Cogman, 49, from Sea Palling in North Norfolk, has been an officer with the Norfolk Police for 15 years, having previously served in the RAF for 12 years.  The father-of-two attends his local Church of England parish church, and has instructed leading Human Rights barrister Paul Diamond to act on his behalf.  Mr Diamond defended Nadia Eweida, the British Airways employee who was suspended for wearing a Christian cross to work.

Mr Cogman is taking the unprecedented action as a serving policeman after a series of complaints and investigations suggesting he is ‘homophobic’ – something he strenuously denies.  He claims the ‘over the top’ promotion of homosexual rights within Norfolk Police makes being a Christian policeman, or an officer with traditional family values extremely difficult, unless they are prepared to ignore their conscience.

In 2006, PC Cogman was working at the force’s Great Yarmouth headquarters when gay liaison officers put ‘politically correct’ pressure on all colleagues to wear a pink ribbon supporting Gay History Month.  Mr Cogman claims police stations were flooded with homosexual literature, posters, including the promotion of gay quiz night in pubs. As a member of the Police force, an organisation which he feels is charged with upholding traditional British  standards of freedom of speech and association, he emailed colleagues with an alternative view on the subject, stating his Christian views and reminding them that Christians, and other members of society, whom they serve as officers, believed homosexual acts were wrong in God’s eyes.

The officer was subsequently accused of failing to be tolerant and banned from using the force’s internal email system.  When the event re-occurred 12 months later, Mr Cogman again protested, especially when the promoters wanted to use the Rainbow Symbol, which to Jews and Christians, represents God’s promise of love and protection of his people.  The officer was summoned to a full disciplinary hearing. On the strong advice of lawyers, and because he was told he would lose his job otherwise, he pleaded guilty to a breach of the police code of practice and was fined the maximum, £1,200. When PC Cogman then added a Christian text to his computer screen saver, he was further questioned and in April 2008, he was interviewed again about his faith and beliefs.  He now faces a further full disciplinary hearing and is in fear of losing his job.

Full details of the date of the Employment hearing and of the legal arguments will be sent to the press and media as soon as the Court announces a date. The media will be aware that this case echoes that of Lillian Ladele, the Christian registrar who successfully took the Islington Council in London to court over her refusal to conduct civil-partnership ceremonies for gay couples.  That case is currently being appealed.

Ends.

For further information:

Andrea Minichiello Williams 0771 259 1164; Paul Eddy 07958 906716 (PR);  PC Graham Cogman 07977219227.

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