Law and religion round-up – 15th August

Street preaching again

In R v Hazel Lewis [2021] Highbury Corner Mags Ct (unreported), Ms Lewis was arrested while preaching outside Finsbury Park tube station on 12 February 2020 and taken to Charing Cross Police Station. It had been alleged that she had made a child cry and had behaved in a threatening manner when she said in response to one man’s provocation: “you are an advocate of Satan and I rebuke you in Jesus’ name”.  She had also said that her detractors should be more concerned about recent cases of knife crime in the neighbourhood than her message. She was charged with a breach of s.5 (Harassment, alarm or distress) Public Order Act 1986. Crucially, however, she had made an audio recording of her preaching.

At the Magistrates Court on 28 July 2021, a witness statement from a police officer who had reviewed her recording stated that a member of the public appeared to have been “goading” her to comment on homosexuality, but she had “refused to take the bait” and that “at no point do you hear her make any homophobic or racist remarks against anyone.” He also stated that: “She at no point during the recording is calling for the stabbing or murder of any group based on their lack of religious beliefs.“ He concluded: “Hazel repeatedly refers to people as sinners, and that the sin is caused by people having let the devil into them, and that they need to accept Jesus and God into their souls to redeem themselves from sin.”

According to  a report by Christian Concern, District Judge Newton concluded:

“The defendant is alleged to have said, ‘you are an advocate of Satan and I rebuke you in Jesus’ name’. I don’t find those words threatening. These words were certainly disagreed with. I do not find that they were abusive either. Further, in relation to distress, it is clear that [a witness] was disturbed and found them to be unpleasant. She said that other people were distressed. She said that she was distressed and found these words were unpleasant. However, that does not amount to harassment, alarm or distress. In addition, there is no evidence as to why the children were crying. Whilst there was a lot of noise, there were a lot of things that could have led the children to cry.

I find that there is no case to answer.”


On 11 August we posted Columbaria in churches – a short note a brief review of columbaria, and the aspects of ecclesiastical law involved, following the recent judgment Re Peel Cathedral [2021] EC Sodor 2. Our non-exhaustive search revealed a number of columbaria, including those cited in the recent judgment; however, following publication of the post there have been a number of helpful Comments which have highlighted other examples which were not included initially. Knowing the locations of these additional sites has enabled a refining of the search terms and the post has now been updated. It is possible that others will exist, referenced in PCC Annual Reports &c, and we would be grateful to hear of these to include further update the post on columbaria which are “relatively novel in Anglicanism”.

(Never having heard the term before, Frank thought they were something to do with pigeons.)

Changes to self-isolation rules in England

As from 16 August 2021, under The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, SI 2021/851, the following people are not required to self-isolate if they have come into contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus—(a)a person who has received a complete course of the coronavirus vaccination, provided that the contact takes place more than 14 days after they have completed their course of vaccinations; (b) a person who has taken part in a vaccine trial; (c )a person who can provide evidence that for clinical reasons they should not be vaccinated, and; (d) a child.

Or as in Adam Wagner’s summary: “if you are fully vaccinated at least 14 days before you need to self-isolate, you don’t have to self-isolate. Also applies if you can provide medical evidence you can’t get a vaccination”.

Quick links

And finally…I

Here’s one for those who complain about the early advertisement of Christmas in secular organizations: THE SHRINE SHOP · Make it a Walsingham Christmas  – what is worse, the Walsingham Way CD is out of stock.

And finally…II

We didn’t think that our post on the snappily-titled Hughes v Incumbent of the benefice of Frampton-on-Severn, Arlingham, Saul, Fretherne & Framilode [2021] UKUT 184 (LC) had very much to do with “religion” at all, and only produced it because a regular reader drew the judgment to our attention. We’re rather surprised that it’s had almost 400 page views.

5 thoughts on “Law and religion round-up – 15th August

  1. Frank – columbaria are (etymologically) to do with pigeons (Latin columba) and can refer to the whole pigeon-house or to the individual niches – the OED cites 1881 J. Grant ‘Cameronians’ “The dove-cot.‥was built in the form of an enormous beehive.‥full of columbaria for the pigeons.”

  2. And finally ii — perhaps that was because it was referred to on the FB Miscellanea Historica Anglicana group noting the various roles of the priest in the past.

  3. “(Never having heard the term before, Frank thought they were something to do with pigeons.)”

    Frank is not so far out – a columbarium is so called, IIRC, because of its resemblance to mediæval dovecotes.

  4. And finally…II
    Hughes v Incumbent of the benefice of Frampton-on-Severn, Arlingham, Saul, Fretherne & Framilode [2021] UKUT 184 (LC)
    It may not have “had very much to do with “religion” at all” but it has to do with the CofE parish church in rural areas with poor access, also with glebe as well as churchyards. I was one of the 400 and sent a link to the diocesan property department.
    Keep up you excellent work in all matters pertaining in some way to Law & Religion UK. Thanks for all you do.

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