Christian News from Scotland

News stories from Scotland and beyond

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Victory in free speech case

Lancashire Police and Wyre Borough Council back down over the Joe and Helen Roberts case

In an out-of-court settlement, the Police and the Council have both admitted they were wrong in how they responded to the Roberts’ complaint about the Council’s ‘gay rights’ policy. The Police and the Council have agreed to pay legal costs and also make a compensation payment to the Roberts. Joe and Helen are donating all the compensation money to a Christian charity.

The Police admit they should have investigated the matter more fully before deciding to send two police officers to the Roberts’ home. They also admit that if they had made further enquiries, it is likely they would have decided not to send the officers. The Police also said they have revised their policy specifically to avoid episodes similar to the Roberts’ case happening in the future.

We are particularly thankful for the very positive attitude of Lancashire Police to bringing this case to a successful conclusion. The Police have made it clear that the door is open for further discussion about how they can improve their policy in this area. This goes a long way to restoring the confidence of Christians in Lancashire as to how similar incidents will be dealt with in the future.

Read the Police apology in full

The Council admit that they should never have allowed an individual council officer to make a complaint to the Police. They have revised their procedures accordingly.

Read the Council apology in full

It has been a year since the Roberts were interrogated by police officers in their own home simply for complaining to their local Council about its ‘gay rights’ policy. Throughout the year, the Roberts have been determined that the Police and the Council should not be allowed to treat Christians this way. They took out a legal action to make sure it didn’t happen to anyone else. That courageous stand has been vindicated.

Although this is an English case, it is a warning for Christians in all parts of the UK to stand firm against "authorities" who would illegally seek to use their position to deny the right to free expression of religious belief.

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