Immediate: 24th February 2008 16.30 hrs.
The House of Lords is poised to decide whether to hear an appeal in the Jerry Springer the Opera case, Christian Voice has learned.
The case is going to the Appeal Committee of the House of Lords this week, and a decision whether or not to hear the case is expected to be made shortly.
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, is seeking to bring a prosecution for blasphemy against Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, in respect of the BBC2 broadcast of the show on 8th January 2005, and the show's producer Jonathan Thoday.
In December, two High Court judges ruled that theatres and broadcasters were exempt from the law against blasphemy. a decision described by the authoritative law journal Criminal Law Week as 'devoid of any legal merit'. Mr Justice Collins and Lord Justice Hughes refused to allow the prosecution to go ahead.
However, Stephen Green's application to appeal against the High Court decision was lodged by his legal team with the House of Lords on 3rd January this year.
The appeal to the House of Lords has induced a state of panic amongst secularists campaigning against the Christian constitution of the
. Terrified that Green might win in the House of Lords, Dr Evan Harris moved an amendment to abolish the blasphemy laws later that month during the passage of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. He withdrew his amendment after a promise by the Government to move their own.
Amendments to abolish the blasphemy laws have now been put down for the Committee Stage of the Bill in the House of Lords, one by Lord Avebury and the other by the Earl of Onslow and Baroness Stern. A Government amendment has not yet tabled, and Stephen Green's solicitors, Criminal Law Advocates of Reading, have written to the Government to make them aware of the latest development in the appeal to the House of Lords.
Stephen Green said today:
'I can see why the secularists, who love insulting Jesus Christ, want to get on and abolish the blasphemy laws. They complain they haven't been used for thirty years, which is not strictly correct, but now that a case is about to be brought, they are running scared.
'But it would be completely unreasonable, not to say churlish, of the House of Lords to abolish the blasphemy laws just while a case revolving around them is being considered by the House of Lords itself.'
Note to Editors: Wingrove's film Visions of Ecstasy was banned by the BBFC because of the blasphemy laws and that decision was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights, as were the convictions of Gay News and its editor Denis Lemon in the Gay News case in 1982.
The blasphemy laws prevent "any contemptuous, reviling, scurrilous or ludicrous matter relating to God, Jesus Christ, or the Bible."
Jerry Springer the Opera featured Jesus Christ as an infantile coprophiliac, who was told by Jerry Springer in the show to 'Grow up for Christ's sake and put some f***ing clothes on.'