Christian thrown off Sheffield course over anti-gay comments wins appeal

Felix Ngole Credit: ITV Yorkshire

A devout Christian thrown off a university social work course after being accused of posting anti-gay marriage comments on Facebook has won the latest round of a legal battle.

Felix Ngole, who is from Barnsley, claimed he was lawfully expressing a traditional Christian view and complained that university bosses unfairly stopped him completing a postgraduate degree in social work.

A judge ruled against him after a High Court trial in London in 2017, but three appeal judges have overturned the ruling by Deputy High Court Judge Rowena Collins Rice.

They say Sheffield University should reconsider Mr Ngole's case.

He says his rights to freedom of speech and thought, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, were breached when he was thrown off the course.

University bosses said he showed "no insight" and the decision to remove him from the course was fair.

They say Mr Ngole was studying for a professional qualification and they had to consider his fitness to practise.

Judge Collins Rice ruled that university bosses acted within the law.

She said freedom of religious discourse is a public good of great importance, but social workers had considerable power over the lives of vulnerable people and trust was a precious professional commodity.

Lord Justice Irwin, Lord Justice Haddon-Cave and Sir Jack Beatson had considered Mr Ngole's appeal at a Court of Appeal hearing in London in March and ruled in his favour on Wednesday.