A Scottish evangelist has been cleared of all charges, after being arrested on the streets of Irvine.
Gordon Larmour was charged with behaving in a ‘threatening or abusive manner, aggravated by prejudicing relating to sexual orientation’ and ‘assault’.
Mr Larmour often hands out Christian leaflets to people in Irvine. He offered a leaflet to some young men passing through the town and explained of his own story of faith to them.
One of the men asked Mr Larmour for God’s opinion about those who engage in homosexual practices. When Mr Larmour responded with what the Bible teaches, the man became angry and tried to hit him. The group of men then chased Mr Larmour, shouting abuse at him. Police were called to the scene and the young men accused Mr Larmour of making homophobic comments. Mr Larmour was arrested and held in a police station overnight.
The trial took place on 9 January, at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court, the defendant was represented by Christian Legal Centre (CLC) allied lawyer Alastair Ross. Two of the young men involved in the incident appeared as witnesses along with a police officer.
The sheriff decided that the case should be heard in private, out of concern for one of the young men. However, the young men’s accounts did not match and the police officer was unsure whether Mr Larmour had said anything other than ‘the act [of homosexuality] was wrong’. Mr Larmour’s solicitor submitted that there was ‘no case to answer’ and the sheriff, who was unconvinced by the evidence, found Mr Larmour ‘not guilty’ only an hour after the trial started.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the CLC, commented, ‘This is a wonderful result for Gordon and for Christian evangelists in the UK. Freedom of speech is being consistently undermined in the UK, but here is a win for common sense’.