Street Preacher’s Conviction for “Mis-Gendering” Overturned

“A Christian street preacher who was arrested for ‘misgendering’ a member of the public has had his conviction overturned. Dave McConnell, 42, who’s from Wakefield, appealed his conviction at Leeds Crown Court after he was arrested under section 4A Public Order Act 1986 for ‘insulting’ a member of the public in Leeds City Centre in June 2021. He was arrested after he ‘misgendered’ a transgender person who identified as a woman during a one-on-one conversation with a police officer. Mr. McConnell was subsequently convicted and made to pay costs of £620. He was also forced to do 80 hours of community service despite there being no legal obligation to use a trans person’s preferred pronouns in the UK. Following his conviction, the Probation Service reported Mr McConnell to the Joint Counter-Terrorism Team. It is believed Mr McConnell is the first street preacher to be convicted for such an offence and reported as a potential ‘terrorist.’ Mr. McConnell’s lawyer argued that the police response was unlawful, disproportionate and interfered with his Article 9 and 10 rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Mr. McConnell, who was supported by the Christian Legal Centre was asked in court whether he knew that ‘misgendering’ a trans person could be insulting, to which he replied: ‘I wasn’t misgendering, I was telling the truth.’ Following the ruling, Mr. McConnell said: ‘I am delighted and relieved that the Judge has overturned the conviction and that I can clear my name. I am, however, appalled at how I have been treated by the authorities in this matter. No other street preacher, professional or member of the public must go through what I have.’”

“Street preacher,” Premier Christian News, Mar. 10, 2023