Canadian preacher Pastor David Lynn has been released by the police without charge after being falsely accused of hate speech.
Mr Lynn, a leader of a church in Toronto, had been arrested and held for more than 20 hours at Fresh Wharf Custody Base in Barking, London, after preaching the gospel outside Barking tube station.
He had been questioned under caution after being falsely accused of calling a homosexual lady in the crowd ‘perverse’ and ‘sinful’. He denied this, and video footage captured of the preaching does not substantiate her complaint. Instead, it shows groups of supporters cheering, chanting ‘Jesus’ and supporting David throughout his preaching.
According to a statement from the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), which is supporting Mr Lynn, he had been approached by the police after the lady alleged his comments had been homophobic. He was arrested and taken into custody without opportunity to explain his story.
After holding him for 20 hours, the interviewing officers admitted the police had been wrong to arrest him. They expressed regret he had been held for so long, and recognised his right to freedom of expression should have been better protected.
In the statement, Mr Lynn commented: ‘My vision is to bring the life-changing message of Jesus Christ’s love and forgiveness to the world through evangelism. What happened [that day] shocked me, and I am grateful to the CLC for responding immediately to my arrest and helping me avoid being charged’.
Andrea Williams, CLC chief executive, said: ‘The police’s readiness to arrest David is another example of the freedom of street preachers being curtailed. We are delighted he has not been charged for sharing the good news of Jesus, and we remain committed to providing expert legal support, free of charge, where street preachers face trouble with the police’.