Free speech victory
Another UK Christian street preacher has been awarded damages after being wrongfully arrested last year.
Anthony Rollins was awarded £4,250 in damages following a court’s decision that it was wrong for police to have arrested and handcuffed him after he preached against homosexuality. He was also charged with breaching Section 5 of the Public Order Act, but the charges were dropped before the case came to trial.
Helped by the Christian Legal Centre, Mr Rollins sued West Midlands Police after a complaint he made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission about his treatment was rejected.
His claims of wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment, assault and battery and the infringement of his human rights were upheld by the court. This success for free speech and street preaching came after Cumbrian Dale Mcalpine, 42,
was awarded £7,000 in damages.
Mr Mcalpine was arrested on 20 April last year, also under the same section of the POA, accused of a ‘racially aggravated’ offence and using ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words’.
This was after Mr Mcalpine told Sam Adams, a homosexual police community support officer, that he believed homosexual practices go against the Word of God.
Mr Mcalpine’s comments about homosexuality were not made in his public preaching but in response to a question put to him by a member of the public.
Cumbria’s Chief Constable Craig Mackey said that a senior officer will meet the preacher in person and apologise to him to ‘seek to restore his trust and confidence in the constabulary’.
In September 2010, the Crown Prosecution Service withdrew its case against Paul Shaw, another Christian preacher charged under public order legislation in relation to ‘offence’ caused to homosexuals.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said, ‘We are pleased that the freedom to preach the gospel has been upheld in a climate where freedoms are increasingly under pressure, especially from the homosexual lobby’.