Charges dropped against British woman arrested for silently praying in Birmingham

Isabel Vaughan-Spruce who was arrested for silently praying in her head has charges dropped but is determined to fight on and clear her name in court.

Charges dropped against British woman
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Rebel News UK reported on the case of Isabel Vaughan-Spruce who was arrested in early December 2022 for allegedly being in violation of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) by silently praying outside an abortion clinic in Birmingham.

Isabel Vaughan-Spruce runs the Birmingham branch of 40 days for life which is a pro-life campaign group whose members regularly stand down the road from abortion clinics and offer information leaflets to visitors. They position themselves outside of abortion clinics in order to give alternative information to the women attending the clinics who they argue, might not otherwise be aware of alternatives to terminating the pregnancy.

The video of Vaughan-Spruce, filmed by her colleague, quickly went viral in which three police officers spoke to her questioning her presence in the area, asked her if she was praying and then proceeded to detain, search and arrest her. Following the arrest, Vaughan-Spruce was criminally charged with “protesting and engaging in an act that is intimidating to service users” in a PSPO on Station Road, Birmingham.

These charges have now been ‘discontinued’ by the Criminal Prosecution Service (CPS). However, the CPS also made clear that the charges “may well start again” in the future subject to further evidential reviews. The Alliance defending freedom (ADF) who represent Vaughan-Spruce legally wrote;

“Given the nature of Vaughan-Spruce’s regular voluntary work in offering charitable support to women in crisis pregnancies near abortion facilities, the discontinuance has left her with significant legal unclarity moving forward, given that CPS made clear that the charges “may well start again” in the near future subject to further evidential review. Vaughan-Spruce has now made known her intention to pursue a verdict in court. Her first hearing date is yet to be set.”

Rebel News UK spoke with Isabel Vaughan-Spruce and asked her, why it was so important to clear your name in court and what does this case say about freedom of speech in the UK?

“I want to clarify the situation for myself and anyone else who might be in this position. I think there is a lot of people who are left uneasy about PSPOs and the prospect of national buffer zones. We need to know what is and isn’t considered anti-social behaviour in the UK.

Because it seems our most basic freedoms are being infringed on nowadays and we need to have some clarification on exactly what the law is saying on this.

With regards to free speech. If we haven’t even got freedom of thought, what hope is there for freedom of speech. Currently people can be arrested and asked at a police station, what are you thinking about! Like I was. Overall, I think we just need clarity and that why I want to pursue this in court.”

PSPOs were introduced to Britain in 2014 but Isabel Vaughan-Spruce’s case is reportedly the first example of somebody being in violation of a PSPO simply for silently praying. A court date hasn’t been announced but Rebel News UK will continue to update you on any developments with this case.

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