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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 February 2007, 11:37 GMT
Foetus pictures case plea fails
A 'pro-life' campaigner has failed to have a conviction for sending pictures of aborted foetuses overturned.

Veronica Connolly, 50, was convicted in 2005 for sending the pictures to chemists in Solihull, West Midlands, who sold the morning-after pill.

Mrs Connolly, a Roman Catholic from Shard End, Birmingham, claimed her freedom of speech was breached.

The High Court said her right to express her views did not justify causing stress and anxiety to others.

Religious expression

Lord Justice Dyson said it had been convincingly shown that Mrs Connolly's conviction was necessary in a democratic society.

"Her right to express her views about abortion does not justify the distress and anxiety she intended those who received the photographs," he said.

Mrs Connolly, a grandmother disabled with ME, also said her conviction violated her right to freedom of expression of her religion.

She was prosecuted under the 1988 Malicious Communications Act on three charges of sending indecent or grossly offensive pictures for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety.

'Public concern issue'

The pictures were sent to chemists in Moss and Olton. One woman who saw them broke down in distress as her daughter had recently had a still-birth.

Magistrates in Solihull gave her a three-year conditional discharge and ordered her to pay 125 legal costs which increased by 500 when she lost her appeal at Coventry Crown Court.

At the High Court her counsel, Paul Diamond, said: "We say this is protected speech of the highest political, social and religious nature relating to an issue of public concern, namely abortion."

While Mrs Connolly, a member of the UK Life League, was sorry about the woman who became distressed, she maintained her purposes was not to cause upset but to educate and inform.

Rights case over foetus pictures
23 Jan 07 |  West Midlands

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