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Fined for Praying the Rosary

Last edited 27th April 2016

Fined for Praying the Rosary

Eight Canberra Catholics, including a priest of the Archdiocese, received an official police warning on April 15 for allegedly breaching the exclusion zone around the ACT Health Centre in Civic.

The group, which has held weekly pro-life prayer vigils outside the facility for more than 17 years, was gathered outside PJ O’Reilly’s Irish Pub on West Row when police asked them to move elsewhere. Seventy-five-year-old Kerry Mellor decided not to move from the location, and was consequently fined $750. The Health (Patient Privacy) Amendment Act 2015 Bill, introduced in the ACT Legislative Assembly by Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury and passed on October 29, established the exclusion zones, which came into effect on March 22.

The Bill prohibits behaviour that attempts to stop a person from entering the building, as well as “a protest, by any means… in relation to the provision of abortions” in the facility. Mr Mellor, who has been attending the prayer vigils for the past 12 years, told Catholic Voice he was convinced the police had made a mistake. “We do not believe that we are protesting,” he said. Participants in the weekly prayer vigils outside the ACT Health Centre in Civic were given a police warning on April 15.

Participants in the weekly prayer vigils outside the ACT Health Centre in Civic were given a police warning on April 15.

“We are praying, which is directed exclusively to almighty God and his Blessed Mother. It’s not a protest, it’s a petition that God will act to change the hearts and minds of people.

“It’s also an ancient tradition to pray for the dead, including the innocents killed here – we pray for their souls, and we make a small act of reparation for this horror committed in our midst, in our community.”


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