An injunction brought by Nottingham City Council against the organiser of the 40 Days for Life Vigil in Nottingham, has been lifted. Dr John Edwards was accused of anti-social behaviour which could have alarmed people heading for the unit, part of the Queen's Medical Centre.
But a temporary injunction was thrown out by Judge Richard Owen QC, sitting at Nottingham Magistrates' Court, who said the council's action could "simply not be justified."
As he left court, retired teacher Dr Edwards, 61, said: "I am delighted because this was about the expression of free speech. This has been a peaceful vigil and we do not approach people. If people approach us, we are friendly and do not judge anyone.
"We pray for the unborn baby, we pray for the women and the men. Abortion causes huge psychological damage and that affects the men involved as well... 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."
The council suggested in court that Dr Edwards' group 40 Days for Life would have more effect if their action were staged at a busier spot away from the hospital.
But Dr Edwards said: "Nuclear protestors protest outside a nuclear plant, environmental protestors protest where there is a threat to the environment. As people who are concerned about abortions, we to go places where there are abortions."
John Smeaton director of SPUC said: "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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