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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
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Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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10 years ago at an open air Christian Church service in

Resolved Question:

10 years ago at an open air Christian Church service in Ghana West Africa, a British visiting Minister, mentioned over the microphone that at previous meetings of his, people had been healed of many diseases including cancer.
He did not claim to have personally healed these people, but that they had been healed through prayer - by God. A video was taken of the meeting and was posted on his US website. Is the minister in breach of the Cancer Act ? Can he be prosecuted in the UK ? The video has since been removed from the website.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

If this was in the United Kingdom, he potentially breaches section 4 of the Act.

However, because this happened in West Africa, he doesn’t commit an offence in the United Kingdom. Sometimes, things may be illegally one country but quite legal in another. I don’t know whether it is an offence in Ghana.

Similarly, it may or may not be a criminal offence in the United States and there is no criminal offence in being able to view a website from another country.

By all means refer this to the police if you wish but it seems unlikely that a prosecution would be forthcoming although he might get a warning, if he is back in the UK and there is any suggestion that he is going to carry on effectively promoting his church and healing (albeit from someone else) is in the United Kingdom.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Please rate the service positive. It is an important part of the process by which experts get paid. It does not cost you anything but helps us greatly.

Best wishes.

FES

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
With all due respect I thought I was going to get an opinion from a Criminal Barrister. At least that was what was advertised.It seems the police do not get involved in this type of offence but it comes under Trading Standards and it is they who bring a prosecution.Are you confident in your reply to me or should the Barrister give an opinion ?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

I am confident in my reply. Although there is no time limit for a criminal offence, I would be very surprised if Trading Standards did anything about this firstly because it’s 10 years ago and secondly because it’s not in the United Kingdom and hence, isn’t an offence.

By all means report it to the police and to Trading Standards. What he is doing is certainly not within the spirit of the Act which is to stop fraudsters cashing in on desperate people and giving them false hope.

If you want me to pass it on to someone else, for a second opinion, I’m happy to do so.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I would like to have a second opinion. There was no 'cashing in' involved as there were no financial transactions involved.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

There doesn’t need to be money. The offence is advertising. Churches regularly advertise services without wanting money.

Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

I have fwd the thread to a criminal barrister colleague

Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.

I have read the exchange above and can confirm that the answer above is correct.

I'm very sorry.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I am not sure what Jo C is responding to and why she is 'sorry' ?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.

I was responding to your post above.

My colleague is right.

I am sorry.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Jo C Are you responding to the original post. Are you the Criminal Barrister colleague that Fe Smith refers to ?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Please forgive me I can see from the above that you are indeed a Barrister. Please accept MY apologies. So it would seem that the issue of the meeting that took place in Ghana is one of jurisdiction ?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.

Yes, that is right.

I am sorry.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Please forgive me I am not sure what it is you are sorry about .
Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.

That there is no offence in the UK.

Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

My colleague is a criminal barrister. She is apologising because we both imagine that this is probably not the answer you wanted, that a criminal prosecution was most unlikely.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Oh. As a Barrister I thought you might have worked out that I am the Minister in question. I was mortified to learn that I may have broken the law. I have been in ministry for the past twenty years and in the heat of the moment I seem to have mispoke !
Rest assured I have not repeated my mistake and the video has been deleted from my website. I am not a fraudster but a consecrated Archbishop ! Thank you for your opinion(s) I am much relieved.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

We don’t know who you are or where you are and hence, you will get completely unbiased advice. The question was written in the third party so we had no reason to believe that you were anyone other than a third party asking about this.

Incidentally, based upon the facts you have given, it is most unlikely that a prosecution would be forthcoming even if this happened today in the UK. What you have to do is think about the spirit of the act and what it is designed to prevent.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Please rate the service positive. It is an important part of the process by which experts get paid. It does not cost you anything but helps us greatly.

Best wishes.

FES

F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9324
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
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Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you both for your opinions.