guilty as charged

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 09, 2006

Here's the story. A 37-year-old Englishwoman, impressed by the anti-war activism of Cindy Sheehan, took it upon herself to mount her own solo pacifist campaign in the UK. Dorothy Manning-Lees mailed grisly photographs of civilian Iraqi victims of bombing raids carried out by Coalition forces to the acting commandant of the 4th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, based in Lancashire. The photos, described by Fusiliers as "offensive, horrendous and absolutely disgusting," prompted Lt. Colonel Mark Greyshaw to burst into tears while giving evidence against Manning-Lees in the course of a trial held at the Swaffham Magistrates' court. In sentencing her to 20 hours of community service, district judge Phillip Brown told Manning-Lees: "It is clear that you intended to shock and I am certain your purpose was to cause distress and anxiety." Media and civil rights groups kept mum about the punishment, acknowledging that Manning-Lees simply got what was coming to her. These were pictures of corpses, after all.

OK, I did change one or two minor details. The activist was actually named Edward Atkinson. And he was 74 years old, not 37. And he got 28 days in jail. And the target of his mailings was the staff of a National Health Service hospital.

Because of his shocking behavior, Atkinson, who was on a waiting-list for a hip replacement, has been removed from the list and refused treatment by the hospital.

Oh yes. The criminally distressing photos were pictures of aborted babies.

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  • Posted by: ladybird - Jun. 10, 2006 1:39 PM ET USA

    Meg Q: You seem very familiar with this case. If you are local to it perhaps you can let us know if there is any fund set up to which we can contribute to aid Mr. Atkinson in his defense and work. Is there any "Thomas More Law Center" or such type in UK that could take on his case? Maybe we could send some disturbing and distressing material to the QEHosp. Let them cross the pond to prosecute us! What say?

  • Posted by: Meg Q - Jun. 10, 2006 1:02 AM ET USA

    P.S. I noticed that while in jail, Mr Atkinson got other inmates to take down pornography and did some counseling . . . now there's a man who makes good use of every hour God sends!

  • Posted by: Meg Q - Jun. 10, 2006 1:01 AM ET USA

    Ah, I knew where you were going, but only b/c you didn't change the judge's name - I thought, there can't possibly be two Phillip Browns in England's justice system, one passing sentence as he did in Atkinson's case (which I read about this morning) and the other as he did in "Manning-Lees"'s case . . . otherwise I would have bought it! There's something distressing here, alright . . .

  • Posted by: JARay - Jun. 09, 2006 6:45 PM ET USA

    Edward Atkinson is a fine Catholic. He told the magistrate that he would certainly do it again and he also said that they might as well lock him up for ever because he wasn't going to stop. The hospital's refusal to perform the hip replacement that he needs shows what a mean, petty bunch of bureaucrats run the place.

  • Posted by: Quadratus - Jun. 09, 2006 5:17 PM ET USA

    Both the killings in Iraq and the killings in abortions clinics are brutal and evil samplings of what human sin is capable of. The killing of innocent civilians in Iraq by terrorists is as despicable as the killing of innocent babies. But the main difference is that in the case of soldiers or terrorists (and there is a big difference between them), they do not kill their own innocent offspring in the womb. What is more terrible?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 09, 2006 5:04 PM ET USA

    I'm sure the people who sent in letters with "extreme views" are all pro-life as is Mr. Atkinson. What incredible intestinal fortitude!! I just have a bumper sticker from ALL and have been yelled at - both pro & con. Gets me praying for the cons.