On 3 February, the Catholic Herald reported that the Crown Prosecution Service had decided not to proceed with charges against Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, who was arrested and charged with four counts of failing to comply with a Public Space Protection Order in violation of a “buffer zone” around the British Pregnancy Advisory Service’s Robert Clinic in Kings Norton. Similar charges were brought against a Roman Catholic priest, Fr Sean Gough, for holding up a sign saying “praying for free speech” outside the clinic.
Although it was decided not to proceed, they decided to pursue a verdict in court and their cases came before the Birmingham Magistrates’ Court in separate hearings this morning, when the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that it had discontinued the case against them both and offered no evidence.
Prosecutor Ekene Pruce confirmed the cases had been reviewed, but it had been decided that they did not meet the Full Code Test – CPS criteria for assessing whether cases are in the public interest and whether there is enough evidence to provide a “realistic prospect of conviction”. She stated she was not in a position to comment further on the decision.
District Judge Wain told the defendants that the matters against them had been brought to an end. In a subsequent statement, they criticised the decision to charge them for “silently praying” and “praying for free speech”, saying they had been put “on trial for praying in an abortion facility censorship zone”.