Pensioner blogger's vicar Asbo quashed by High Court
A PENSIONER has spoken of his relief after an antisocial behaviour order (Asbo) banning him from contacting his local vicar was quashed.
Christopher Perry was given the Asbo earlier this year after being accused of targeting the vicar in his online blog.
The order was due to run for ten years.
He also used it to accuse Humberside Police and local councillors of corruption.
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Mr Perry, 66, now wants the force to meet his £20,000 legal bill after the order was overturned at the High Court.
He said: "My faith in British justice has been restored but I shouldn't have had to spend that much to get it.
"I dread to think how much this will have cost the taxpayer. I would like the money back from the police that I have had to spend fighting this case.
"I feel vindicated but I am not too triumphalist about it, because it is sad. It shouldn't have happened in the first place."
Mr Perry, of Southfield Close, Wetwang, was given the order at Hull Magistrates' Court by District Judge Frederick Rutherford in January.
The court was told Mr Perry had targeted The Reverend Robert Amos, of Driffield Methodist Church, on his website Wolds Eye View.
Mr Perry, a retired journalist and teacher, said he investigated Mr Amos's "lifestyle" after being "let down" by him.
He told Mr Amos: "I'm going to bring you down by the power of journalism."
Mr Perry's solicitor, Brigid Baillie, argued against the Asbo.
He said it would breach Mr Perry's human right to freedom of expression.
That was rejected by Judge Rutherford, who said: "It is a nonsense to hide such appalling actions behind human rights. This is clearly antisocial behaviour and people need protection."
However, the High Court found the judge was "perfunctory and dismissive" in considering Mr Perry's right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In her application to the High Court, Ms Baillie said: "His actions may have offended, irritated and distressed some individuals which resulted in his community newsletter being shut down and the eventual imposition of the antisocial behaviour order.
"In effect, the State has stepped in to prevent people being written about, photographed and contacted. It fails to place the case in the context of a democratic society and amounts to a disproportionate interference."
Mr Perry said: "The last nine months have been absolute hell. I was frightened to go out of the house, especially when the police put posters about the Asbo all around the village."
The order banned Mr Perry from causing harassment, alarm or distress, entering any private land without permission of the landowner and contacting Mr Amos and several others, including former Driffield mayor Stephen Poessl.
A spokeswoman for Humberside Police said: "Humberside Police have been made aware of the decision made by the Court of Appeal in connection with the Asbo given to Christopher Perry.
"The force will now take time to consider the ruling."