CLERGYMEN have lost their fight to get a council ban on performances by psychic mediums.

Councillors at Hyndburn leisure services committee meeting last night rejected a plea to stop performances by James Byrne and other psychics in council halls.

The clergymen included the Rev Richard Priestley, of the Oswaldtwistle Melbourne Street Christian Institute, Rev Michael Ratcliffe of St Paul's, Oswaldtwistle, and Rev Kevin Logan of Christ Church, Accrington.

They expressed concern that the council was sponsoring a performance by James Byrne at Oswaldtwistle Civic Theatre and asked for the show to be cancelled.

They said shows such as his were spiritually and emotionally damaging to vulnerable people, and said they had had to counsel people who had been to mediums.

But leisure services chairman Ian Ormerod said: "The council is in principle opposed to censorship and people should be able to make their own choice as to whether to attend these functions.

"It's not as if they are in any open public area.

"People have to purchase a ticket to go and see this.

"There are obviously other dimensions of this discussion that we could get into, such as the religious aspect, but I don't believe that this should be a concern for this committee."

Coun Miles Parkinson said: "In a liberally minded society freedom of choice should be preserved.

"The general public should be allowed to attend what they want to attend."

Coun Cliff Westell added: "It's an unfortunate fact that there are some vulnerable people going to these shows who have probably been close to someone who has died or just been through a trauma.

"In one sense I can agree with this argument.

"But having said that, I am against censorship."

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