Victory as injunction against Nottingham 40 Days for Life thrown out of court
23 March 2018
The 40 Days for Life Nottingham team with John Smeaton outside the court.
An injunction brought by Nottingham City Council against Dr John Edwards, organiser of the 40 Days for Life Vigil in Nottingham, has been lifted.
After a secret hearing last Friday, Nottingham City Council served an injunction against Dr Edwards, preventing him from taking part in the vigil until further notice. Today, the Council returned to court in an attempt to confirm the injunction and extend it to other members of the vigil.
However, in a hearing this afternoon, Judge Owen ruled that there was no evidence base for the injunction, and that it be discharged. The attempt by the Council to extend the injunction to other members of the vigil also failed. Judge Owen further ruled that there was no basis on the evidence brought before the court for directing, as requested by Nottinghamshire City Council, that the matter go to full trial.
Nottingham City Council has agreed to pay costs incurred by SPUC for legal advice provided to the 40 Days for Life team, and the support of CEO John Smeaton, who accompanied Dr Edwards into Court.
Victory for freedom of expression
Dr Edwards said: "We are delighted that the court has decided to uphold our right to pray and to express our point of view in public. This was a deeply misguided attempt by the city council to attack free speech simply because they disagreed with our point of view.
"I would like to thank all those who have expressed support, including patients and people working at QMC who are grateful for our presence."
We must be alert for future attempts
John Smeaton said: "It is great news that this attack through the courts on peaceful public acts of witness and freedom of expression has been defeated today. SPUC gives 100% backing to the pro-life team in Nottingham who have been praying, providing pastoral support, and seeking to build public awareness concerning abortion which involves the deliberate ending of an unborn child’s life. Nottingham City Council’s action against a respected member of the community represents a real threat to freedom, historically so prized by the British people, and it is heartening that a judge has so completely exonerated Dr Edwards.
We hope this decision today will deter any future attempts to silence the pro-life voice through the courts, and SPUC will do everything in its power to resist any such injustice in the future."
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