Dated 10th November 2008
The Crown Prosecution Service has wrecked the prosecution of the Baltic Centre in
over the Zabludowicz statue.
The gallery exhibited the statue, which portrays Jesus Christ with a phallus attached, from September 2007 to January this year.
The exhibition led to protests at the gallery and demands for the statue to be destroyed. Christian Emily Mapfuwa brought a prosecution against the gallery for outraging public decency, but the CPS have taken over the case and discontinued it on the grounds "that there is not enough evidence to establish a case to answer".
It appears the CPS believes there should have been actual public disorder before a case could be brought. Michael Phillips, solicitor for Emily Mapfuwa, said:
'Although it is right to say that there was no actual disorder, there was potentially such disorder, which was evidenced to the CPS in the witness statements provided. In particular one witness felt like smashing the object. The decision is simply not in accordance with the facts and is unsustainable.'
Christian Voice National Director Stephen Green said tonight:
'This decision urges Christians to create public disorder if we want a similar case to proceed in future. We are naturally reluctant to do that, and it puts us in new territory. On the other hand, there were those at the Baltic Centre who wanted to take matters into their own hands, and I have warned Anita Zabludowicz that her statue will not survive being put on public display again. If the CPS wanted to give the green light to blasphemous art, their decision may paradoxically have the opposite effect. With the threat of destruction hanging over it, the Zabludowicz statue is now locked away by its wealthy owners and is unlikely to see the light of day again. The same will go for any other blasphemous works of so-called art. Put simply, Christians won't tolerate insults to Jesus Christ. However, I do hope that the art world will discover some respect for Christian religious beliefs and for the person of Jesus Christ.'