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Judge upholds decision by council to issue community protection notice against pro-life campaigner erecting anti-abortion poster

A district judge has upheld a council’s decision to issue a community protection notice against the leader of a group of pro-life demonstrators erecting a picture of an aborted 24-week foetus in a town centre.

Waltham Forest Council issued the CPN against Christian Hacking of the Centre for Bio-ethical Reform UK on 3 October.

The image being erected in Walthamstow Town Centre was 10ft by 10ft. It appeared alongside a photo of Stella Creasy MP, who had supported the bid to extend abortion in Northern Ireland.

Mr Hacking claimed the CPN infringed his right to freedom of religion and his right to freedom of expression.

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However, his appeal was rejected at East London Magistrates Court on Wednesday (6 May).

Cllr Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: “We are glad that the court has agreed that our actions to protect residents of Waltham Forest against distressing imagery being displayed in Walthamstow town centre were proportionate. We acted after receiving numerous complaints from members of the public about these images.

“We fundamentally believe in free speech and the right to protest. However, we also believe that those who live, work, and study in the borough have the right to use their town centre without being confronted with unnecessarily graphic and upsetting material.”

Confirming his intention to appeal the ruling, Mr Hacking said: “I am deeply disappointed that our appeal to show the reality of abortion to the people of Waltham Forest has not been successful."

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