Street preacher Dale Mcalpine was held in a cell for seven hours and charged with a public order offence after telling a gay police community support officer that homosexuals were going against the will of God.
He said he would fight to have the
charge - usually used to tackle rioters or football hooligans - dismissed.
Mcalpine was spouting nonsense to shoppers and handing out leaflets when he was allegedly warned he was committing an offence by PCSO Sam Adams - who introduced himself as
his force's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender liaison officer.
When he continued preaching, Mcalpine was arrested while debating his views with a passer-by.
I think justice will be served and this will be found to be a ridiculous
charge, he said. He told how he was speaking to a woman about behaviour that he believed the Bible regarded as sinful, including blasphemy, adultery, drunkenness and homosexuality, while being watched by two PCSOs.
After she walked away, he
claimed Adams approached to warn him they had received complaints and that if he made any racist or homophobic comments he would be arrested. I told him homosexuality is a sin, and he told me "I am a homosexual, I find that offensive, and I'm
also the liaison officer for the bisexual-lesbian-gay-transsexual community", he said yesterday. I told him it was still a sin.
While he talked to a passer-by the PCSO radioed for assistance and he was arrested by uniformed
officers. He was taken to a police station, had his pockets emptied and his mobile phone taken along with his belt and shoes, and was kept in the cells for seven hours where he sang hymns to keep his spirits up.
He was later charged with using
abusive or insulting words or behaviour contrary to the Public Order Act 1986 and released on bail, appearing before magistrates in the town last week.
The self-proclaimed born-again Christian insists he has a right to express his views. It's
not just my right I'm fighting for, it's everyone's ,' he said: We're going down the route of a police state. Some people in the homosexual community may not like me after this. But it would be very intolerant of them to not allow me to have my
Yet more examples of the police abusing their incredibly wide powers under the Public Order law. This law grants draconian powers to deal with unruly situations. Somehow it is now being applied to normal peaceful life.
Interesting to see that
the hidden video camera footage arrest has now been posted on YouTube and that the Crown Persecution Service have decided to drop the case.
Dale Mcalpine was arrested on 20 April after a conversation with a police community support officer in which Mcalpine said the Bible calls homosexual conduct a sin.
This week crown prosecutors decided to drop the case after reviewing the evidence.
Mcalpine was assisted by The Christian Institute. He says he is relieved that the prosecution has been dropped. He said: It was a ridiculous charge, I should never have been arrested. I'm relieved that they have seen sense. I'm a Christian man,
I forgive the police. But it is important this doesn't happen to someone else. We are now looking at the legal options that we have got, and we will take it from there.
Christian Institute spokesman Simon Calvert said the police must be held
to account. He said: Cumbria police can't just walk away from this. They have arrested and charged an innocent man for no other reason than he peacefully expressed his religious beliefs. And it has happened in other parts of the country too. So there
is clearly a problem with the system and it has to be put right.
Chief Superintendent Steve Johnson, police commander for West Cumbria, said: Our officers and staff often have to make difficult decisions while balancing the law and people's
rights. This is not easy especially when opinions and interpretations differ. We would like to reassure the public that we respect, and are committed to upholding, the fundamental right to freedom of expression ...[BUT]... We are just as committed
to maintaining the peace and preventing people feeling alarmed or distressed by the actions of others in public places.
The Crown Prosecution Service has carefully assessed the evidence in the case and has decided to discontinue the prosecution of
The Christian preacher who told police homosexuality was a sin is planning to sue for wrongful arrest.
Dale Mcalpine was charged with a public order offence after speaking to a community support officer (PCSO) in Workington, Cumbria, in
The charge was later dropped by Cumbria Police, which claimed it respected freedom of expression.
Mcalpine said he would launch a civil action against the arresting officer and the chief constable.
He also intends to sue for
false imprisonment and unlawful interference with his right to freedom of expression and freedom of religion.
Mcalpine denies making any mention of homosexuality in his sermon. He said: As a Christian man, I forgive the police for their
actions... HOWEVER ...I also want to protect others who may face similar problems in the future. This can't just be brushed under the carpet, freedom of speech is too precious for that.
The Christian Institute, which acts to defend
religious liberty for Christians, is supporting Mcalpine and financing his legal action.
A street preacher has been awarded more than £4,000 in damages after a judge ruled it was wrong for police to arrest and handcuff him for speaking out against homosexuality.
Anthony Rollins was preaching in Birmingham city center in June
2008 when a member of the public, John Edwards, took offense at comments he made describing homosexual conduct as morally wrong.
According to the Christian Institute, which backed Rollins' case, police arrived on the scene after receiving a call
from Edwards and PC Adrian Bill proceeded to handcuff Rollins without any further inquiry.
Birmingham County Court ruled that PC Bill had committed assault and battery against Rollins by handcuffing him unnecessarily. Judge Lance Ashworth QC said
in his ruling that the arrest demonstrated a lack of thoughtfulness. He ruled that hehad made the arrest as a matter of routine without any thought being given to Rollins' Convention Rights , which pertain to free speech and religious
After his arrest, Rollins was taken by PC Bill to the station where he was held for three hours but never questioned for his account of events. He was charged with breaching Section 5 of the Public Order Act but the charges were dropped
before the case came to trial.
Rollins decided to sue West Midlands Police after a complaint he made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission about his treatment was rejected.
Meek was so 19th century. Updated it reads: The easily offended will inherit the Earth
Christian street preacher Dale Mcalpine is to receive £7,000 in damages after Cumbrian police admitted wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment and a breach of his human rights.
According to the Christian Institute, which funded Mcalpine's
legal defence, Cumbrian police have accepted that they acted unlawfully.
Mcalpine was arrested in April by Cumbrian police in Workington after he mentioned that homosexuality was among the sins listed in the Bible. His comments were not made in
his main public sermon but in response to a question about homosexuality put to him by a passerby.
He was arrested by PC Craig Hynes for a racially aggravated offence under Section 5 of the Public Order Act and, after being detained at the
station for more than seven hours, was charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words to cause harassment, alarm or distress . The charges were later dropped.
The arrest sparked fears for freedom of speech for Christians
and was also criticised by prominent gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
The Christian Institute is appealing to the Government to amend Section 5 of the Public Order Act, which makes it a criminal offense to use threatening, abusive or
insulting words or behaviour in a way that could alarm or distress another person. It wants the Government to repeal the word insulting .
Tony Miano is a street evangelist from America who was preaching at Wimbledon. He is also a retired veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
On Monday, his theme was sexual immorality - all forms He talked about sin - heterosexual
and homosexual - without discrimination. As he was preaching, a lady heard him say that homosexuality was a sin, and promptly summoned the police, who duly arrived.
Miano was then arrested for violating Section 5 of the Public Order Act: he was
accused of using homophobic speech likely to cause anxiety, distress, alarm or insult.
He was escorted to Wimbledon police station, where he was photographed, finger-printed and had a DNA sample taken. He was then incarcerated in a cell for seven
Tony Miano explains his side of the story in a video from YouTube
He was released after being told that the police would take no further action.
Why is it that the police arrest people on
the behest of easily offended people in the street? It causes a major trauma to people's life and should not be inflicted on people without at least considering the merits of the claim. This was not an emergency situation. This is not justice.
Don't interpret the Public Order Act as if it were Pakistan's blasphemy act. Don't let the police become the weapons of the easily offended.
Police in Scotland have dropped all charges against two Christian evangelists who were arrested for supposedly using offensive language whilst preaching in Dundee and Perth.
Tony Miano was arrested under hate-crime legislation during a
one-week street-preaching mission in January after a member of the public made al complaint.
Miano protested his innocence and said they could see his preaching on video to prove he had done nothing wrong and that his message was one of hope to be
found in Jesus Christ. The officers refused to look at the footage and took the evangelist to the police station where he was detained for 24 hours.
Josh Williamson, an Australian who is a pastor at the Craigie Reformed Baptist Church in Perth was
arrested twice in three days in the city last September for an alleged breach of the peace .
All charges have now been dropped against both evangelists after months of representation by the Christian Legal Centre.
Responding to the
charges being dropped, Miano said:
It took months for the prosecutors to view the footage despite our best endeavours from the very beginning to get them to do so. When the P rosecutors finally managed to get the video
footage off my camera they could plainly see that the accuser had made allegations about my speech that were simply untrue. The Prosecutors found nothing in my preaching that constituted 'hate speech' and came to the conclusion that they had no case
against me. Had the officers who arrested me taken a few minutes to review the video footage, they would have seen what I have maintained all along. This has been a stressful time for my family.
Josh Williamson explains that while he
no longer faces trial, the matter is not yet over. He said:
There is still the issue of getting back my equipment, including the footage it contains. I am also seeking legal advice as to redress in Scotland's civil
courts against the Scottish Police .
Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Centre who assisted the preachers said:
This case shows yet again how confused the situation has become. A single
passer-by can allege 'hurt' 'offence' and an innocent preacher gets arrested, taken to a cell and held for many hours. This has a deeply chilling impact on all of us; on our fundamental freedom to speak out about what we believe in for fear of 'causing
offence' and being punished by the state for doing so.'
Street preacher Michael Overd has been found guilty of using threatening or abusive words after making homophobic remarks during a sermon delivered in Taunton High Street.
Overd was ordered to pay £250 to a passer-by who had been
'offended' by the preacher's comments, and he initially refused, at which point judge Shamim Qureshi threatened the preacher with a prison sentence. He has been ordered to pay total costs of £1200.
Overd intends to appeal his conviction and said
I follow my Lord and leader, so I won't tone down.
The street preacher was charged with a public order offence, after complaints were made by members of the public that he had made homophobic and Islamophobic remarks. In particular
he quoted Leviticus 20:13 :
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. (English Standard Bible)
The BBC reports that the judge told the preacher he seemed to enjoy testing the laws on free speech to their limits . Overd was also told that he should not have quoted from Leviticus 20:13 when speaking about homosexuality , according
to Christian Today, who also report that the judge suggested that there were other verses he could have chosen if he wanted to talk about what the Bible says about homosexuality.
Judge Qureshi also works as a judge for the Muslim
Arbitration Tribunal, which aims to help Muslims resolve disputes in accordance with Islamic Sacred Law.
Overd was found not guilty on two other charges, which included causing racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or
distress after he made critical remarks about the Muslim religious character Mohammed.
The National Secular Society has previously raised concerns about the trial's implications for free speech. Terry Sanderson, NSS president, said the ruling
appeared to make the quoting of certain passages of the Bible illegal:
Whilst we all want to encourage public civility, there is a higher principle at stake. As long as there is no incitement to violence, then people
should be allowed to speak freely without fearing legal repercussions.
The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) of Northern Ireland have defended their prosecution of James McConnell, the Christian preacher who called Islam Satanic.
In a letter sent to the National Secular Society, the PPS have
doubled-down on their decision to take the case to trial, after the NSS warned that their actions had created a chilling effect on free speech. A Christian organisation warned that many churches will be wary of what they place on the internet
until this case is heard and the law is clarified.
Pastor McConnell is being prosecuted under the Communications Act 2003 for sending a grossly offensive message. The Pastor said during a sermon that Islam was a doctrine spawned in hell
and that while there may be good Muslims in the UK, he didn't trust Muslims generally.
In response to a letter of concern written by the National Secular Society urging the PPS to reconsider its course of action,
the Prosecution Service have claimed that their controversial decision is in the public interest , and have vowed to press on despite a raft of criticism from Christian groups, the National Secular Society and an imam, Dr Muhammad Al-Hussaini, who
said he strongly upholds the moral right of Pastor McConnell and myself, as Christian and Muslim, to disagree about matters of doctrine and belief.
The PPS added in their response to the National Secular Society that they
had balanced the relevant public interest considerations in their treatment of the case, but that due to the gravity of the preacher's sermon and the circumstances of the offence and the offender they were right to deal with the
matter by way of an informed warning.
Pastor McConnell rejected this warning, which would have remained on his criminal record for 12 months, and this led to the case proceeding to trial at the PPS's insistence.
Extraordinarily, the complaint about McConnell's sermon reportedly came from Dr Raied Al-Wazzan, who recently praised the Islamic State and said that Mosul had become the most peaceful city in the world under IS rule. You
can go from east to west of the city without fear, he claimed. Al-Wazzan is now described as the main prosecution witness in the case against McConnell.
There has been widespread condemnation of the PPS's actions, but
Assistant Director Michael Agnew wrote that he remained of the view that the evidence Test for Prosecution is met and that a prosecution was justified given that McConnell has refused to accept the warning.
manager Stephen Evans said:
This baffling decision to persist with the prosecution of Pastor McConnell represents a reckless and grievous encroachment upon his - and everybody else's - fundamental right to free
In our view Pastor McConnell was well within his rights to refuse a warning that would have remained on his criminal record for a year, particularly given that he clearly did not incite violence in his sermon and the
PPS do not even appear to claim that he did. Given that, the PPS's behaviour seems even more extraordinary.
Whatever the outcome of this case, the actions of the Public Prosecution Service are likely to have a chilling effect on
everyone's freedom to speak openly about their beliefs.
In an open and free society, we should all feel able to express our beliefs and opinions without fear of criminal sanction - regardless of how unpalatable others may find
The weapon of 'offense' is increasingly being used to stifle free expression. The desire to live in a harmonious and tolerant society is a noble one, but will not be achieved by the suppression of fundamental freedoms.
We again urge the PPS to drop this case and issue a full apology to Mr. McConnell.
Evangelical Protestant preacher Pastor James McConnell has been found not guilty of making grossly offensive remarks during a sermon in which he described Islam as heathen , satanic .
The high profile evangelical pastor had been charged
with two alleged offences after the sermon delivered from the pulpit of his Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle on May 18, 2014 was streamed online.
But following a hearing he was cleared of improper use of a public electronic communications network
and causing a grossly offensive message to be sent by means of a public electronic communications network.
Delivering his reserved judgment, District Judge Liam McNally said:
The courts need to be very careful
not to criminalise speech which, however contemptible, is no more than offensive. It is not the task of the criminal law to censor offensive utterances. Accordingly I find Pastor McConnell not guilty of both charges.
In my view
Pastor McConnell's mindset was that he was preaching to the converted in the form of his own congregation and like-minded people who were listening to his service rather than preaching to the worldwide internet. He is a man with strong, passionate and
sincerely held beliefs... his passion and enthusiasm for his subject caused him to, so to speak, 'lose the run of himself
The judge said the comments about Islam being heathen and satanic were protected under human
rights legislation. When considering the remarks about mistrusting Muslims, Judge McNally said he was satisfied the pastor had not set out to intentionally cause offence. If the preacher had qualified his remarks, as he did in subsequent media
interviews, he could have been spared the legal battle.