Two Christian street preachers have been cleared of all charges after they were arrested in Basildon and Hereford respectively.
One preacher, Rob Hughes, had been arrested in Basildon on 4 September last year, after a confrontation with a member of the public, who wrongly accused him of using homophobic and offensive language. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, Mr Hughes was arrested by police and held in custody for 11 hours. During this time, he was interviewed, a DNA sample was taken, as well as his finger prints and a mug shot. He was finally released just before midnight, after police said they would not press charges due to insufficient evidence.
Meanwhile, Andrew Geuter, who was arrested in Hereford on 23 April this year, also after a false accusation of making homophobic comments, has also been cleared, thanks to support from the CLC. Mr Geuter spent five hours in police custody, before being released on conditional bail. The police later informed him that they would not take further action, again due to insufficient evidence. After support from the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), Mr Hughes has received £2,500 and a contribution towards his legal fees for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and breach of his human rights, as part of an out-of-court settlement.
According to a statement from the CLC, Mr Geuter has been preaching in Hereford once a week for 11 years and during this time has experienced no trouble or complaints. He told CLC sister campaign group Christian Concern that, for a man who has never even received a parking ticket, the prospect of having a criminal record was ‘extremely disturbing’.