Ashers bakery sets out grounds for appeal against court decision

By Gillian Crotty

The owners of Ashers Baking Company have laid out their grounds for appealing the decision of the court which found them guilty of discrimination against a customer on grounds of sexual orientation, and religious belief or political opinion.

The bakery had refused to fulfill an order which it had initially accepted for a cake which was to contain a pro-gay marriage slogan. The owners of the 'Christian-run bakery', the McArthur family, were said to have an "issue" with the message on the cake and the customer, Gareth Lee, was refunded his money. Mr Lee sued the bakery for discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and political beliefs and the Belfast Crown Court upheld his claim and compensation of £500 was to be paid by the bakery.

However, the McArthur family have now confirmed that they will appeal the decision, with the solicitors acting for them set to argue the case on the following points:

Whether the judge was correct, as a matter of law, to hold that Ashers had discriminated against Mr Lee directly on grounds of sexual orientation.

Whether the judge was correct, as a matter of law, to hold that Ashers had discriminated against Mr Lee directly on grounds of religious belief or political opinion.

Whether the judge was correct, as a matter of law, to hold that Ashers was not entitled to protection as a result of the rights under Articles 9 and/or 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

An appeal has not yet been formally approved, so that will need to be granted first before a date can be set for the appeal hearing. If leave to appeal is granted the case is expected to be heard towards the end of this year.

If you require legal advice in respect of a discrimination matter, or with regard to any other legal dispute, contact one of the commercial litigation solicitors at Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by calling 0800 840 9295.

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