Friday, August 17, 2012
British Christian B&B owners who refused gay couple win right to Supreme Court appeal
A couple who refused to let a gay couple share a bedroom at their seaside guest house have won permission to take their case to the Supreme Court.
A Christian couple who refused to let a gay couple share a bedroom at their seaside guest house have won permission to take their case to the Supreme Court.
Earlier this year Court of Appeal judges dismissed a challenge brought by Peter and Hazelmary Bull, who run Chymorvah House in Marazion, Cornwall, against a ruling that they breached equality legislation when they turned away Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy in September 2008.
Today it was revealed that the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, has now decided to hear their case and could rule in their favour after all.
The appeal court had upheld the January 2011 verdict of Judge Andrew Rutherford at Bristol County Court that the Bulls had directly discriminated against the couple, who were awarded a total of £3,600 damages.
Mr Bull, 72, and Mrs Bull, who is in her late 60s, are Christians who regard any sex outside marriage as a "sin" and they would not let the two men have a double-bedded room.
They denied either direct or indirect discrimination, arguing that their policy of restricting double beds to married couples, in accordance with their religious beliefs, was not directed to sexual orientation, but sexual practice.
Dismissing the Bulls' appeal in February this year, Sir Andrew Morritt, Chancellor of the High Court, sitting in London with Lord Justice Hooper and Lady Justice Rafferty, said that the restriction was "absolute" in relation to homosexuals but not in the case of heterosexuals.
"In those circumstances it must constitute discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Such discrimination is direct" he said.
Lady Justice Rafferty said a homosexual couple "cannot comply with the restriction because each party is of the same sex and therefore cannot marry". Now that ruling is to be tested in the Supreme Court.
The Bulls had accepted an £80-a-night double room booking, thinking Steven Preddy, 38, would be staying with his wife.
When Mr Preddy arrived with his 46-year-old civil partner Martyn Hall, the men, from Bristol, were told that they could have two rooms, but not share one.
In January last year Judge Andrew Rutherford ruled at Bristol County Court that the Bulls had breached equality legislation and ordered them to pay the couple a total of £3,600 damages.
The Bulls denied that they had discriminated against Mr Hall and Mr Preddy, saying they had also barred unmarried heterosexual couples from sharing double rooms since they opened for business 25 years ago.
In the Apperal Court ruling earlier this year, Lady Justice Rafferty said "Whilst the appellants' beliefs about sexual practice may not find the acceptance that once they did, nevertheless a democratic society must ensure that their espousal and expression remain open to those who hold them.
"However, in a pluralist society it is inevitable that from time to time, as here, views, beliefs and rights of some are not compatible with those of others.
"As I have made plain, I do not consider that the appellants face any difficulty in manifesting their religious beliefs, they are merely prohibited from so doing in the commercial context they have chosen."
The taxpayer-funded state equality body, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, had backed Mr Preddy and Mr Hall in their action.
John Wadham of the EHRC said "We believe that this case will help people to better understand the law around freedom of religion. "When offering a service, people cannot use their beliefs, religious or otherwise, to discriminate against others.£"
But Simon Calvert, of the Christian Institute, which funded Mr and Mrs Bull's appeal, said "Something has gone badly wrong with our equality laws when good, decent people like Peter and Hazelmary are penalised but extremist hate preachers are protected."
British Appeal judges are forced to REDUCE jail sentence of 'dangerous' paedophile to just 18 months
Judges have expressed 'great concern' after being forced to overturn the indefinite sentence imposed on a dangerous paedophile who will now serve just 18 months behind bars.
Simon Crisp twice tried to convince a 15-year-old boy to perform a sex act online and shared sickening images of children with other perverts, London’s Appeal Court heard.
He was jailed indefinitely for public protection - which is almost identical to a life sentence - at Preston Crown Court in March, after computer equipment was seized by police from his home in Fleetwood, Lancashire.
The 36-year-old admitted three counts of trying to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, six of making, nine of distributing and five of possessing indecent images of children, and one of having an extreme pornographic image.
But his open-ended sentence has now been quashed at London’s Criminal Appeal Court and replaced with a conventional jail term of three years.
Judges said that, while they were deeply anxious about the outcome, the law on indeterminate sentences laid down by Parliament left them with ‘no alternative’ but to quash Crisp’s IPP.
The decision means that, instead of remaining behind bars until the Parole Board concludes it is safe to release him, Crisp will now be automatically released after serving half of the three-year term.
Judge Anthony Morris QC, sitting with Lord Justice Davis and Mr Justice Treacy, said a sexual offences prevention order handed to Crisp should be ‘vigorously enforced’ by the probation service to ensure he doesn’t re-offend after his release.
The judge told the court Crisp’s computer equipment, including a laptop, webcam and four discs, were seized from his home in September last year.
Before the equipment was analysed, he admitted to police he had downloaded pornographic images of children and had spoken to other paedophiles on Skype - but claimed he had no sexual interest in children.
Analysis of the machine revealed over 200 indecent images of children - including five in the most obscene category - and it was discovered these had been sent to other people via the internet.
A probation report concluded Crisp was a danger to the public and there was a real threat that his ‘fantasies’ about children would result in him reoffending. The court heard he had a previous conviction for sexually assaulting a three-year-old 20 years earlier, when he was aged 15.
Sentencing him, the crown court judge said a five-year sentence would have been appropriate for the offences, but that he was ‘dangerous’ and should therefore be locked up indefinitely.
Crisp’s lawyers argued the five-year ‘notional term’ was too long, saying the crown court judge didn’t take enough account of the overall sentence or the level of his offending.
Allowing the appeal, Judge Morris agreed the term was ‘excessive’ and that the IPP must be quashed - as indefinite sentences can only be imposed where the offences would justify a conventional sentence of at least four years.
He told the court: 'We consider that the judge’s finding of dangerousness was fully justified on the evidence before him.
'But, by reason of this court’s decision to reduce the notional determinate term, a sentence of imprisonment for public protection was not available.
'We have great concern as to the outcome. But, as Parliament has laid down that the notional term must be at least four years for an indeterminate sentence to be imposed, we have no alternative but to quash the IPP.'
Evil British social workers again
Social workers failed to tell a couple who adopted a seven-year-old girl that she may have suffered serious sexual abuse.
Then they blamed the child’s new parents for her uncontrollable behaviour as the pair struggled for six years to bring her up.
When the parents tried to persuade their adopted daughter to follow the family’s rules, they were accused of ‘torturing’ her and being ‘high risk abusive parents’.
But the Christian couple’s ordeal came to a head when the girl falsely accused her adoptive father of assaulting her.
Both parents were arrested and the adoptive mother, a teacher of 20 years’ standing, was briefly banned from having any contact with children.
Yesterday a High Court judge called the behaviour of social workers towards the parents ‘cruel’.
Judge Clifford Bellamy found they had made a series of unfounded allegations against the Roman Catholic parents, including charges that they locked the girl in her room to stop her stealing, violently pinned her to the floor, and strip-searched her for stolen items.
Social workers also pretended the girl had few problems when she was away from the parents at school. ‘That was not the case at all,’ the judge said.
He further criticised the attempt by social workers to blame the parents for the failure of the adoption, condemning the workers for failing to give information to the couple or to take account of the girl’s deep psychological troubles.
The case comes at a time of growing pressure on local authorities to find more families to adopt children.
Last year just over 3,000 children in care were permanently adopted by new families, the lowest number in a decade.
Social workers have been accused of bias against adoption and inventing barriers like rules on race or age to stop couples taking on youngsters.
In the case of the Catholic couple Judge Bellamy, sitting in Coventry, heard that the girl was born in 1997 to a family where children had been sexually abused.
She was known at least to have witnessed the abuse of one of her sisters. However she was not taken from her mother until she was four years old, when she was found to have head lice, rotten teeth and no idea of a daily routine.
The girl was not adopted until she was seven. Her new parents had told social workers they could not take a child who had been sexually abused.
But soon after the adoption they caught the girl downloading pornography from the internet to show to children at her school.
Social workers told the court that information about suspected abuse ‘was given to the adopters at the time of the placement but in general rather than specific terms’.
Judge Bellamy said: ‘The parents have said that if they had known in 2003 what they know now they would not have proceeded with the adoption. But they did not know. And they did adopt.
‘It is to the immense credit of these parents that despite the challenges their daughter has presented, and despite the difficulties they have had to contend with in engaging with the local authority, they still care about her, and they still love her and want what is best for her.’
The court heard from psychologist Dr John Richer, former head of child psychology at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. He said that the treatment of the girl in her early life meant that her new parents would ‘get caught in a vicious circle where their normal behaviour, which works with most children, only serves further to alienate a child like this.
‘To call these not uncommon parental reactions emotionally abusive is not only inappropriate and wrong, but cruel,’ he said.
The court heard that the girl frequently went missing and stole from the parents’ two older daughters.
The judge said that the girl went back into council care in December 2010. Since then she had been sexually assaulted, arrested for a serious assault on a care home staff member, had a contraceptive implant fitted without permission from her Roman Catholic legal parents, and had been provided with no therapy, despite a deep need for help to overcome her psychological disorder.
He said he had no choice but to make a legal order transferring care of the girl to the local authority. ‘I regret to say that I am in no doubt that there is a likelihood that if I make a care order the parents will be marginalised and largely ignored,’ he said.
The judge ordered that the adults and children involved in the case should not be identified by name or location.
The age of egotism
by Jeff Jacoby
HUMILITY, IT IS SOMETIMES SAID, doesn't mean thinking less of yourself. It means thinking of yourself less.
For Carli Lloyd I'd guess that's a distinction without a difference. After Lloyd scored the goals that lifted the US Olympic women's soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Japan in the gold medal match at London's Wembley Stadium last week, thinking of herself less was decidedly not on her agenda.
"When someone tells me I can't do something, I'm going to always prove them wrong," Lloyd bragged to an NBC interviewer. "That's what a champion is all about and that's what I am -- a champion!"
Once upon a time it was considered low-class for athletes to be so smug and self-adoring. Winners of championships and gold medals were expected to be gracious, to show a little modesty -- to enjoy the acclaim their splendid achievements had earned, without becoming boastful jerks in the process. At times the taboo extended even to the impression of arrogance: For merely failing to tip his cap to fans at Fenway Park, Ted Williams was thought by many to be haughty and too full of himself.
Of course many gifted athletes are still models of grace and good manners. But as viewers of the recent Olympics were too often reminded, the egotists who aren't not only pay no penalty, they are showered with attention and air time.
"I'm now a legend," crowed Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who won gold medals in the men's 100- and 200-meter races at the London Games. "I'm also the greatest athlete to live." Humility? What's that? Well before the Olympics opened, Bolt was swaggering for the press, telling reporters in June that the London Games would make him a "living legend."
Michael Phelps steered clear of Bolt's spotlight-seeking antics, but he too reached for singularly immodest language after winning his 22nd Olympic swimming medal. "You know what, I've been able to become the best swimmer of all time," he said, describing his successful drive to become the Michael Jordan of swimming. "I did everything I wanted to." Team USA basketball star Kobe Bryan, meanwhile, publicly insisted not only that he was "the best post player on this team, period," but that there was nothing he could learn from his teammates.
In some quarters, this flood of self-worship is applauded as healthy and honest. "The most satisfying part of Bolt—even more than his brilliant runs—is how much he demolishes the myth that the world wants humble athletes," writes sports columnist Jason Gay in The Wall Street Journal. Those who object to Bolt's strutting braggadocio, Gay suggests, are "the kind of people who hate pizza and scream at dogs."
But even in a society fixated on fame and self-esteem, there is nothing admirable about anyone whose first instinct is to sing his own praises. To be sure, showboating narcissists can go far in the world. They may amass money or power or star in their own reality show. Yet an exaggerated sense of self-importance is not the same as greatness. No one can be great who can't be humble, and humility begins with the understanding that it's not all about you.
It is often remarked that recipients of the nation's highest military decoration invariably insist that they don't deserve any glory. Sergeant 1st Class Leroy Petry, a US Army Ranger, last summer became only the second living soldier since the Vietnam War to receive the Medal of Honor. During a harrowing firefight in Afghanistan, he had saved the lives of at least two men in his unit by lunging for a grenade before it could kill them. It exploded in his hand, catastrophically amputating it.
Yet Petry doesn't trumpet his heroism or brag about his courage. "It's not courage," he says. "It was love. I looked at the two men next to me that day and they were no different than my own children or my wife. I did what anyone would have done." Usain Bolt and Carli Lloyd flaunt their Olympic gold and tell the world how great they are. Sgt. Petry, humbly deflecting the spotlight, comes closer to greatness than they ever will.
An old Jewish tradition teaches that God chose to reveal the Ten Commandments on lowly Mount Sinai, not a soaring peak, in order to link greatness with humility. None of us is so amazing that he couldn't stand to be more humble. Self-esteem has its place, but it also has its limits. Even in the age of Facebook – even on the Olympic medal podium -- swelled heads aren't very attractive.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.