Gay bus advert ban probed by High Court

The poster banned by Transport for London The adverts claimed people could "get over" homosexuality

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A High Court judge is considering whether Boris Johnson acted improperly in banning a bus advert suggesting people could "get over" homosexuality.

The Christian charity Core Issues Trust (CIT) has accused the London mayor of "currying favour with gay lobby groups".

The Mayor's office has rejected the CIT's claims.

The probe was ordered by the Court of Appeal after it said an earlier ruling on the issue was flawed.

The posters produced by the Christian charity reading, "Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!" were designed in response to adverts by gay rights group Stonewall which stated: "Some people are gay. Get over it!"

'Gay vote'

The charity's advert led to protests and was condemned as offensive by gay rights campaigners.

The advert was banned on 12 April 2012, the day before the mayor addressed an election rally organised by gay rights charity Stonewall.

CIT said that Mr Johnson intervened and obtained the ban ahead of the 2012 mayoral elections to secure the gay vote.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting CIT's legal action, described the ban as a "suppression of free speech".

In March 2013, High Court judge Mrs Justice Lang rejected the charity's allegations, ruling the ban was lawful.

Stonewall's bus advert The banned advert was in response to a campaign by Stonewall

However the CIT obtained access to emails through a Freedom of Information request to the Greater London Authority.

Paul Diamond, for CIT, submitted emails to the judge which the charity says prove that the Mayor had acted for "the naked political purpose of currying favour with gay lobbying groups" and to secure re-election.

Nigel Pleming QC, appearing for both the Mayor and Transport for London (TfL), rejected CIT's accusations.

He said the decision not to permit the adverts was made by Vernon Everitt, TfL's managing director for marketing and communications, not Mr Johnson.

Following the two-day hearing at London's High Court, the judge said she would need time to consider her verdict.

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  1.  
    10:54:

    Police also revealed that Zalkalns had returned twice to the area where Alice was last seen and had searched her name online as reports of her disappearance emerged.

     
  2.  
    10:43:

    The family added: "Although we now have certain information about how Alice died, we are still left with some serious unanswered questions about what the authorities knew or should have known about the man who is believed to have killed our daughter when he came to the UK."

     
  3.  
    10:39:

    In a statement today, Alice's family said: "It remains impossible to describe the pain of losing Alice. Her death has left a hole in our lives that can never be filled.

    Alice's family Alice's father Jose, mother Rosalind Hodgkiss and sister Nina Gross

    "Every day is a reminder of her life and her loss, and it is hard to imagine a future in which we can find peace and healing.

    "Her brutal murder remains shocking, an appalling senseless act that is still difficult to believe or understand."

     
  4.  
    10:29:

    Arnis Zalkalns was first linked to Alice's disappearance after he was filmed cycling along Brentford Lock canal towpath shortly after the school girl walked along it.

    Arnis Zalkalns
     
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    10:20:

    Key points:

    • At a press conference held today, the Met said the key suspect in her disappearance, Arnis Zalkalns, would have been charged with Alice Gross' murder
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    • Police said the motive for her death was "most likely sexual"
    • Alice went missing on 28 August near to her home in Hanwell, west London
    • She died from compression of the chest
     
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    10:17: Danny Shaw Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

    Alice's body weighed down with bricks, sections of tree trunks, covered with branches. The bag used to conceal her body matched the next bag on roll from Zalkalns' workplace.

     
  7.  
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    Although police think the motive was sexual, there was no evidence that she was sexually assaulted, said BBC London reporter Nick Beake who is at the press conference.

     
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    10:01: News on the hour BBC London 94.9 Radio

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    Her cause of death was given as compression of chest probably caused by a heavier body lying on and crushing her weaker body.

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  10.  
    09:41:

    Her cause of death was "compressive asphyxia".

    Alice Gross
     
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  12.  
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    No-one else was involved in Mr Zalkalns' death. He was found hanged in woodland in Boston Manor Park, near Hanwell, on 4 October.

    Check BBC London's timeline for more details of how Alice's murder.

     
  13.  
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    Her disappearance captivated the local area, with yellow ribbons and flowers adorning Hanwell throughout her disappearance.

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    Det Ch Insp Andy Chalmers said the motive for her death was "likely sexual".

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    BBC London's Nick Beake tweets: "Graphic: Alice Gross's body was wrapped in bin bag and weighed down with bricks, logs and a bicycle wheel."

     
  16.  
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    At a news conference, the Met also said there was no evidence to suggest Mr Zalkalns was responsible for any other reported crime.

    Arnis Zalkalns

    But the 41-year-old Latvian builder was a convicted murderer who had served seven years in prison in his native country for bludgeoning and stabbing his wife Rudite to death.

     
  17.  
    09:20:

    The police think Alice was murdered before she was reported missing on 28 August. Her body was found on 30 September.

     
  18.  
    09:16: Alice Gross Danny Shaw Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

    The iPhone cover thought to belong to Alice was found hidden in Mr Zalkalns' garden while a cigarette butt with his DNA on was discovered close to her body.

     
  19.  
    09:15: Alice Gross

    Alice's disappearance sparked what the Met said was its largest inquiry since the 7/7 bombings in 2005.

    Alice Gross

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    Her body was found more than a month later.

     
  20.  
    BREAKING NEWS

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  21.  
    BREAKING NEWS

    The Met Police have sent a report to the Crown Prosecution Service saying Arnis Zalkalns was responsible for the murder of 14-year-old school girl Alice Gross.

     
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