Must not help homosexuals to become normal -- or even argue that it is possible
"The professional trial of a psychotherapist who agreed to try to ‘convert’ a gay man was suspended yesterday after allegations of attempts to intimidate a key witness.
Supporters of Lesley Pilkington, the Christian therapist who faces being struck off, called in police after they said the expert witness was threatened in several ‘menacing’ phone calls. They said the witness was warned not to appear at the hearing.
The allegation brought a new twist to the case which has generated fresh controversy over Christian beliefs and the rights of Christians to hold to them at work.
Mrs Pilkington was targeted by a gay journalist who persuaded her to help him change his sexuality. Patrick Strudwick attended sessions with her with a tape recorder strapped to his stomach and then published a critical article about her in the Independent newspaper.
She is now appearing before a professional conduct panel of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and faces losing her accreditation if she is found to have breached its rules.
The Christian Legal Centre, a group that is supporting Mrs Pilkington in the case, said yesterday: ‘Shortly before the hearing, BACP required all witness statements to be passed to them with contact details. ‘Immediately after supplying the statements, an expert witness received several menacing phone calls, threats and intimidation, telling the witness not to attend.’
The organisation has reported the alleged intimidation to police and called for a full investigation. A BACP official confirmed yesterday that the hearing was adjourned.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, of the Christian Legal Centre, said yesterday: ‘Mrs Pilkington deserves to get a fair hearing by her professional body. In this case the homosexual lobby has been extremely militant and sought to silence by threats and intimidation.