Christian charity refused appeal in London bus ad case

A Christian charity that was banned from placing an advert on London buses has been refused permission to appeal the latest ruling in a long-running legal dispute.

Last week, Lord Justice Sullivan ruled that London Mayor Boris Johnson had not acted unlawfully when he intervened to stop Core Issues Trust’s advert in 2012.

Core Issues Trust’s advert said: “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get Over It!”.

Freedom of expression

It was in response to a Stonewall bus ad campaign that told people who disagree with homosexuality to “Get over it!”

Core Issues Trust took legal action, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, saying the ban was a clear breach of the right to freedom of expression.

The High Court upheld the ban in 2013, but last year the Court of Appeal ruled that aspects of the case had to be re-examined, to investigate whether Johnson had acted for an ‘improper purpose’. The High Court concluded that this had not been the case.

Refused permission

In its latest submissions to the Court of Appeal, the charity maintained that there had also been a failure to preserve important records, inconsistencies in witness statements, and crucial witnesses had not been allowed to be cross-examined.

However, Lord Justice Sullivan said last week that he was satisfied with the High Court’s inquiry, and that although Johnson had been untruthful in some of his public statements, the ban was “certainly not unlawful”.

He refused permission for the charity to appeal the judgment.

Intimidation

Core Issues Trust now must pay £100,000 in costs to Transport for London and is considering its next steps.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said the costs amount to “intimidation”.

“It is an extortionate amount of costs against somebody seeking to do good”, she commented.

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