JS: TO court show is ON!
The blasphemy prosecution by the fringe fundamentalist group Stephen Green’s Voice (aka Christian Voice) against Mark Thompson (the BBC’s Director General) and producer John Thoday is back on.
A High Court judge has overturned the magisrate’s decision not to issue the prosecution, and a new date for the hearing will be announced in a couple of weeks. This will not be a permission hearing, but a full judicial review.
Mr Justice Underhill ruled that the district judge’s original ruling, which was based on two points of law, was wrong on one point and arguable on the other. The judge said:
I should in the circumstances of this case emphasise that I am saying no more than that the challenge to the District Judge’s decision was arguable. That does not necessarily mean that it will succeed; still less that any eventually prosecution would succeed.
Nevertheless, Stephen Green is understandably cock-a-hoop. No doubt this will get his name in the newspapers again for a short while:
Even with His Lordship’s caveat, I praise God that this is the most positive outcome we could have had. I shall look forward to the hearing with some confidence.
Although the hearing will no doubt cause considerable inconvenience to both defendants, it has to be said that this promises to be a highly entertaining trial.
UPDATE (27 Apr): Ekklesia has a good report, and make the point that this case could, contrary to Green’s designs, actually put the final nail in the coffin of the UK’s archaic blasphemy law.