Anti-abortion charity to sue council for libel

15 Aug 2018 News

Life charity stall

Anti-abortion charity Life is taking Lambeth Council to court after it says it was ejected from a country fair.

The charity has instructed solicitors to begin legal action against the council for defamation, breach of contract and interference with its right to freedom of expression.

Life says on Sunday 22 July, the second day of the Lambeth Country Show, its stall was dismantled by the show organisers and staff and volunteers were instructed to leave without any warning.

The charity says this was despite its application having been approved since April.

It also says following the ejection the council and one of its councillors made false and misleading statements about Life’s presence at the show.

The charity says the council has now accepted that those statements were inaccurate and has instead suggested that it was ejected from the show because of the use of foetal models on the stall.

Life is seeking a public correction and apology from Lambeth Council, and assurance that its “right to freedom of expression will not be unlawfully interfered with, that the council will properly engage with us in the future, and compensation for the harm to our charity”.

Its solicitors sent a legal letter to the council on Friday, informing it of prospective claims against it for libel and the unlawful interference with the charity’s right to freedom of expression, contrary to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

‘A grave injustice’

Life’s director of education Anne Scanlan said: “When our right to celebrate the very start of human life is denied we have no choice but to stand up to those who wish to trample on freedom of expression.

“The actions of Lambeth Council represent a grave injustice which must be challenged if we are to continue to defend the right to life of the unborn child and promote support for the thousands of women who need our help in crisis pregnancies.

“We will ensure that the voice of the vulnerable and voiceless is heard in the interest of the common good and we refuse to be intimidated by the discriminatory actions of any person or institution.

“Public displays of information about pregnancy expose the choice of abortion as a choice to end the life of an unborn child.

“Through the provision of practical support, we are promoting real, life-affirming choices, empowering women to continue with their pregnancy.

“This is what women need and deserve and we will continue to stand with them as we have done for 48 years.”

A spokesman for Lambeth Council said they were not able to comment.

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