Graham Preston’s legal team is making application to have his long-running pro-life freedom of speech case heard in the High Court.
Back in July 2016 Graham was found guilty and fined $3 000 for breaching Tasmanian legislation which creates 150m exclusion zones around places where abortions are done.
Graham Preston from Brisbane and Ray and Penny Stallard a retired couple who live in Tasmania were the first persons in Australia to be arrested and charged under such legislation. All three were found guilty of the charges.
At the time of their arrest Graham, Ray and Penny had been standing peacefully near a place where abortions are known to be carried out. They were holding placards – “Everyone has the Right to Life, Article 3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, “Every Child has the Right to Life, Article 6, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child”, and an enlarged photo of an 8-week-old preborn baby - and passing out literature and speaking to passers-by.
Their right to freedom of speech, based on firmly held beliefs, has been prevented and this has significant negative implications for similar communications and stances in the future. Victoria and the ACT have since introduced similar legislation.
Their case was defended on a number of grounds but especially on the ground that the exclusion zone legislation is unconstitutional.
A recent High Court decision relating to a case involving former Senator Bob Brown found that Tasmania’s anti-logging protestor laws were invalid by reason of the implied freedom of political communication in the Australian Constitution. This decision has relevance for the abortion clinic exclusion zone legislation in Tasmania.
The intensity of the prohibition of conduct in the abortion clinic exclusion zone legislation is greater than that in the anti-logging protestor law. Therefore there is good reason to ask the High Court to consider the validity of the abortion clinic exclusion zone laws in Graham's case.
Graham is therefore planning on bringing an application in the High Court to ask it to hear the matter. This is however a costly business and we are aiming to raise $48,000 to part fund this case. (This figure is less than half what the appeal to the high court would normally cost. The legal team are providing their legal services and expertise for whatever can be raised in support to cover their time and any disbursements.)
Will you assist in this effort to uphold the freedom of political communication and the freedom to speak about abortion in relevant places?”
We need your help
This is where you come in, we need you to help cover the funding of the legal defence team. The implications of this case are huge, and could have devastating consequences on what we can say in this country and the ability to speak up for those who cannot defend themselves.
That is why we need your support. Please give what you can towards this. Thank you!
Enquires can be directed to Randall Gibbens of DL Legal by phoning 0412 715 937.
Deposits can be made via this website.