A pro-choice demonstrator has disrupted the anti-abortion protest of a man who had just walked free from court after police dropped charges against him.
Brisbane man John Graham Preston had been the first person charged in relation to Tasmania's new Reproductive Health Act.
Preston was charged after a protest outside a termination clinic and another outside a fertility clinic in Hobart in March.
The Reproductive Health Act prevents protests within 150 metres of a clinic.
Mr Preston had pleaded not guilty to two counts of failing to comply with the directions of a police officer.
Police prosecutors told the court they had reviewed the act and decided not to proceed.
The direction to leave had been given because of a suspected breach, or likely breach, and police now felt the case could not be proved.
Magistrate Catherine Rheinberger ordered the prosecution pay Mr Preston $1,000 in legal costs.
After leaving court Mr Preston staged another protest in central Hobart, but well away from any clinics.
A young woman holding a sign that read "My body My choice" joined Mr Preston on the footpath.
Despite the distraction, Mr Preston said the result was a victory for freedom of speech.
"I think it's a breakdown in a democratic society where freedom of conscience and freedom of speech are prohibited," he said.
"We should be able to speak peacefully and in a non-aggressive violent way everywhere in a public place.
"It's not been clarified by the case going ahead it's hard to know where it's going to go but certainly I believe that all citizens should speak out on behalf of our fellow human beings."
Advocates for women's legal rights questioned the decision to drop the charges.
Susan Fahey from Women's Legal Service Tasmania said it was a very disappointing outcome.
"I'm baffled because I know for myself I received a large number of emails and and photographs that morning showing an individual outside the clinic with what was clearly a protest banner," she said.
"I'm quite confused myself as to why there was no evidence cited."