Police drop e-mail case against Norwich pastor
A Norwich church pastor who was being investigated by Norfolk Police after sending an open e-mail to organisers of the recent Norwich Pride March, has been told the case against him has been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Pride march organizers said they found the e-mail offensive and reported it to the Police. Dr Clifford
(pictured right) was subsequently visited by a police officer investigating a possible homophobic incident relating to the e-mail and given the choice of paying an ‘on-the-spot’ fine of £90 or producing a signed statement in defence of his action.
Yesterday evening (September 26) Dr Clifford, pastor of Norwich Reformed Church,
was visited by two plain-clothes police officers.
“The purpose of the very brief visit was to announce that I am to face no charges regarding the Norwich Gay Pride
complaint,” he said. “When I said, ‘Do you mean the CPS do not intend to prosecute me?’ they said that is so.
“Rather taken aback by this unexpected and unannounced call, all I could say was, ‘That's very kind of you, thank you.’ The officer courteously added that there was a proviso, that I should send no further e-mails to Norwich Gay Pride. Otherwise, I could face charges of harassment. I replied, ‘I had no intention and saw no need to contact them. So there was no problem.’
“For the sake of my wife Marian,
and others who have been anxious for me since the first police interview of 17 August, I am thankful to God that this trying time is over,” said Dr Clifford. “That said, I was looking forward to a day in court... In that sense, I am somewhat disappointed! At least I can now continue my pastoral calling without the distraction of recent events.”
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Editor’s note: Network Norfolk reports on this story to help inform the Norfolk Christian community about both sides of this debate. We take no sides in such matters but are happy to receive the comments of our readers.