Street Preacher Awarded $4.5k over Arrest

“A Christian street preacher has won damages after he was wrongfully arrested and falsely imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. David McConnell had been preaching in Huddersfield town centre in December 2019 when he was arrested for ‘a hate related public order offence.’ Mr. McConnell, who was supported in his case by The Christian Institute, was kept in police custody for about six hours before being released without charge. While Mr. McConnell was preaching, some passers-by stopped to heckle him, asking him questions about sexuality and abortion–even though he had not been preaching on either subject. But he was subsequently arrested and taken to Huddersfield police station without being told the offence he had allegedly committed, other than the suggestion it was for ‘a hate related public order offence’ and ‘for preaching on gay rights and abortion.’ During his time in custody, one police sergeant listened to Mr. McConnell’s recording of his preaching and concluded that no offence had been committed, so the preacher was released without charge. Mr. McConnell took legal action, and last month West Yorkshire Police admitted liability in court papers, agreeing to pay £3,250 in damages–plus his legal costs. Mr. Calvert continued: ‘We are glad the police have admitted they broke the law but more needs to be done to prevent these kinds of cases. The public is very concerned about the chilling of free speech. Instead of taking their cue on LGBT issues solely from LGBT groups, the police should be getting diversity training from a range of providers. This would remind them that, in a pluralistic and tolerant society, there is room for more than one opinion.’ He concluded: ‘Dissent from the orthodoxies of LGBT groups is not criminal. You can’t have the police acting as enforcers for cancel culture, using the power of the state to silence unfashionable voices. That is not their job. Their job is to uphold the law for everyone, including Christians, without fear or favor.’”

“CI-backed Christian Street Preacher,”, June 25, 2021