Page last updated at 19:31 GMT, Tuesday, 2 September 2008 20:31 UK

Action over 'indecent' Jesus art

The civil action is being brought over a statue of Jesus

An art gallery is facing a trial at crown court over claims it displayed an indecent statue of Jesus Christ.

The artwork was part of an exhibition at Gateshead's Baltic Centre featuring several plaster figures with erections.

A private prosecution is being brought by Christian group member Emily Mapfuwa, 40, of Essex, on the grounds the statue outraged public decency.

The gallery elected to have the case sent to a higher court from Gateshead Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

The statue was part of Baltic's September 2007 to January 2008 exhibition by controversial Chinese-born artist Terence Koh, "Gone, Yet Still".

This statue served no other purpose than to offend Christians and to denigrate Christ
Christian Legal Centre spokesman

Mrs Mapfuwa, of Brentwood, instructed her lawyers to seek a private prosecution against the gallery for outraging public decency and causing harassment alarm and distress to the public.

Godfrey Worsdale, who is due to take over as the gallery's director in November, said he could not comment on the legal action.

Last year Northumbria Police began a child pornography investigation after a photograph owned by Sir Elton John was seized from an exhibition at the centre.

The photo, Klara and Edda Belly Dancing by American Nan Goldin, was withdrawn the day before it was due to go on display.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided it was not indecent.


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