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CAPTION; Photo of 76 year old Edward Atkinson leaving King's Lynn Magistrates Court after facing charges of breeching his ABSO, by displaying pictures of abortion remains. PHOTO; Matthew Usher COPY; Nicki Walker FOR; EDP NEWS COPYRIGHT; EDP pics © 2008 TEL; (01603) 772434
Story by: ANDREW PAPWORTH
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
UNDERAGE sex campaigner Victoria Gillick has branded the prosecution of an 81-year-old pro-lifer who sent graphic abortion material to a hospital chief executive as like a “sick joke”.
Mrs Gillick, who won a 1980s court ruling that girls aged under 16 should not be given contraception without parental consent only for it to be reversed a year later, spoke at Norwich Crown Court to say the case against Edward Atkinson was a suppression of freedom of speech.
Atkinson, of Ely Road, Hilgay, was given a three-month suspended jail term after sending the material to the new chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.
The court heard he sent a letter and abortion images which was opened by a young female member staff. She was said to be “distressed” at seeing the material.
He was already banned from sending abortion-related material to any person, hospital, doctor, medical practice and public authority under the terms of an Anti-Social Behaviour Order imposed in 2006 but has now had the term extended until March 2017.
Mrs Gillick, of the Fenland Life Supporter Group, said: “It felt like a sick joke to see someone like Ted at his age and infirmity threatened with jail.”
She said she was supporting Atkinson because she believed no law was above criticism and was among a number of supporters who spoke for Atkinson in court.
Judge Nicholas Coleman accepted Atkinson had a been a life-long campaigner against abortion but said he had to comply with the order however much he disagreed with it. He warned him that if he breached it, he would be jailed.
A hospital spokesman said afterwards that “no one deserves to be on the receiving end of hate mail”.