Gay adoption row magistrate Richard Page takes appeal to High Court

image captionRichard Page was removed from the bench in 2016

A former magistrate who claims he was wrongfully sacked for voicing his beliefs has taken his case to the Court of Appeal.

Richard Page, of Headcorn, Kent, was removed from the bench and dismissed from a senior NHS role in 2016.

He claims this was because he expressed his Christian views on parenting following a same-sex adoption case.

His challenge is opposed by the government and the NHS which both argue that the appeals should be dismissed.

Mr Page's lawyers say his "world was turned upside down" in 2014, when he was one of three magistrates considering an adoption application by a same-sex couple.

He objected to the adoption order and expressed views to his colleagues which suggested he had issues with the fact it was a same-sex couple.

'A child needs a father and a mother'

Complaints were made about him, alleging prejudice, which he denied.

However, in December 2014, he was reprimanded by the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice and ordered to undergo training.

His participation in a number of subsequent media interviews caused concern and he was told to follow advice given about conduct in private and public life.

But he was referred to a conduct panel after taking part in a BBC interview in March 2015 and removed from his office a year later.

He was also suspended from his role at the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust and told his contract would not be renewed.

Mr Page is challenging two rulings of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) which upheld previous tribunal decisions rejecting his claims.

At a hearing on Tuesday, his barrister, Paul Diamond, said he appeared on the news report because he felt he had been subjected to both "discrimination and detriment for the expression of the view that a child needs a father and a mother, views premised in his religious and philosophical beliefs".

He said the case raised "complex issues on the right of an experienced judge to raise concerns about the welfare of children in a public forum".

He said Mr Page had "served dutifully" as a magistrate for 20 years and was a dedicated public servant who "appeared to be valued."

The hearing continues.

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