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Witness for Prosecution, offended by abortion images, says in Court that Abortion Clinic in Brighton offered no Counselling

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A witness in the trial of two Worthing residents who face charges for displaying images of aborted babies outside an abortion clinic began today (12 September) said that the BPAS  (Wistons) clinic in Brighton which he was attending on 15 June 2011 with his partner offered no counselling .

Robert Wyatt, giving evidence at the trial this morning, said that he and his partner received no counselling before or after their decision.

He said that as they drove to the clinic for a pre termination check he was confronted by a large image of an aborted foetus and found it to be ‘very graphic’ and caused his partner ‘distress’.  Robert Wyatt said “I was angry. Upset. I was distressed to be confronted by something so unpleasant”.

Andrew Stephenson and Kathryn Sloane belong to campaign group Abort67, which has held peaceful demonstrations outside the Wistons BPAS abortion clinic for 5 years.

The charges against them relate to images displayed on 15 and 22 June 2011.

It has been argued by David Holman on behalf of the Prosecution that the images were in breach of section 5 of the Public Order Act for causing harassment, alarm and distress to the public.  

Mr Holman alleged that Mr Stephenson and Miss Sloane intended the display to be threatening and abusive, or were aware that it might cause disorder.

Superintendent Nelson, of Brighton and Hove police force, acknowledged in court that police had viewed the very same pictures on previous occasions without taking any action.

He accepted that the group had always acted peacefully but that the police looked at every new complaint in its context.

Andrew Stephenson and Kathryn Sloane are being supported by the Christian Legal Centre.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, the Centre’s CEO, said:

“The evidence of Robert Wyatt was meant to discredit Andrew Stephenson and Kathryn Sloane.  All it did was expose further the invalidity of the BPAS claim that its clinics provide adequate counselling.  

"That counselling is clearly inadequate and there needs to be a wholesale review of the abortion law and whether men and women entering abortion clinics are fully informed about the decision they are making.

“Robert Wyatt was not being given sufficient information by the abortion provider and that is a disservice to him and his partner.  

“This is a crucial test case for freedom of speech on the issue of abortion.

 “The pictures are distressing because abortion is distressing.

“Freedom of speech is one of our most precious freedoms.  If we limit discussion of abortion we are censoring a critical debate on an issue which affects hundreds of thousands of lives.”

The trial continues. 

Background to the story >


Christian Concern: Abortion

Christian Concern: Religious Freedom