Tuesday, 28 January 2014

On the Buses - Get Over it !

The case of  Core Issues Trust v Transport for London [2014] EWCA Civ 34  shows once again how incapable our Courts seem to be about understanding the concept of freedom of speech.

The case itself involved a the Christian Charity "Core Issues Trust" which wanted to run a series of Ads on London Buses promoting a Gay Cure Therapy.  This would have involved the words 
    www.anglican-mainstream.net www.core-issues.org"

which was a response to the adverts previously run on London Buses by the Gay Rights Charity Stonewall which read 

Both ads were clearly using confrontational language though the Core Issues Trust could at least claim to be responding to the confrontational language of Stonewall.

In an earlier hearing Core Issues Trust v Transport for London [2013] EWHC 651 (Admin) the Core Issues Trust had lost an application for Judicial Review but got that decision overturned in the Court of Appeal because they were able to prove that the decision by TfL to refuse the Ad was influenced by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson when the original evidence to the High Court was that Boris Johnson was not involved in the decision.

However the Victory in the Court of Appeal may well prove pointless since the Court of Appeal agreed that TfL did have the right to ban the ads on the basis that 

84:......... The restrictions are justified in view of the prominence of the advertisements and the fact that they would be seen by, and cause offence to, large numbers of the public in central London. Moreover, for those who are gay, the advertisements would be liable to interfere with the right to respect for their private life under article 8(1).

85: Secondly, I agree with the judge that the advertisement is liable to encourage homophobic views and homophobia places gays at risk. 

So the Court  accepted that it is legitimate to ban adverts because some people "might" be offended by them.  So much for free speech.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was more impressed that the judge effectively granted protection to Ex-gay persons in para 95-98!