Ashers: McArthurs pressed on Halloween cakes

Colin McArthur
Colin McArthur

Barrister Robin Allen QC, representing Mr Lee, presented a promotional leaflet which he claimed showed the firm was willing to produce Halloween cakes.

“Witches are hardly consistent with promoting Christian beliefs,” Mr Allen said.

It was put to Daniel McArthur — who is a member of Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church, half a mile from the bakery’s headquarters in Ballyearl — that his church is totally opposed to Halloween, yet the bakery had been willing to make cakes which featured images of witches.

Mr Allen put it to him: “The Reformed Presbyterian Church does not approve of Halloween being celebrated at all and certainly doesn’t approve of witches.”

Mr McArthur replied that he had “never talked to anyone in the Reformed Presbyterian Church about it” and added that he had never thought about whether it was right to make Halloween cakes until the issue had first been raised during Thursday’s hearing.

Under cross-examination by Mr Allen QC, Daniel McArthur confirmed that no consideration was given to any alternative ways the company could have fulfilled the order without involving Christian staff members.

“In the conversation we had I suppose we were thinking so much about the other issues involved that it didn’t occur to us,” he said.

“The only thing we did discuss was about my mother bringing this back and offering him his refund.”

The Ashers business has six shops, employs around 80 staff — up from just over 60 around the time when the case began against the bakery at the start of last summer — and delivers some items across the UK and Ireland, the court heard.