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
Update: Video of Street Preacher's Arrest
15th May 2010. See video
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
Police to be Sued
Based on article from
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.