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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

“Insulting” evangelist cleared by court

Posted: Fri, 28 Sep 2012 09:36

“Insulting” evangelist cleared by court

A Christian activist who handed out leaflets at a Tesco store criticising the company for sponsoring the 2012 World Gay Pride event has had all charges against him dismissed at Dartford Magistrates Court this week. See the offending leaflet.

Raj Bhachoo (pictured right with Stephen Green of Christian Voice) was arrested in January in Kent handing out the leaflets which had been produced by Christian Voice. He was charged with "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour" under Section 5 of the Public Order Act.

Terry Sanderson, president of the NSS said: "Although we don't agree with the rather manipulative and crude messages on the leaflets that Mr Bhachoo was handing out, we defend absolutely his right to do so. So long as he was not inciting violence, he should be able to say what he wants. No topic is off-limits as far as we are concerned and no opinion should be suppressed however unpleasant we might find it."

The NSS has been working in coalition with Christian campaigners and Secularist of the Year Peter Tatchell to try to persuade the Government to remove "insulting" from Section 5 from the Public Order Act. The NSS argues that in a free society people should be able to insult each other without penalty.

The Act has been the subject of a Home Office consultation, the results of which are months behind deadline in being made public.

Find out more about the campaign to reform section 5

Tags: Freedom of Expression