December 21, 2010

Street preacher compensated for wrongful arrest

by Jan Harris

A Christian street preacher who was arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin has received £7,000 in an out of court settlement.

Dale McAlpine of Emmanuel Church, Workington was suing Cumbria police for wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment and breach of his human rights, after he was arrested on 20 April.

He will now meet with a senior officer from Cumbria Police, who will apologise for the mistake.

Mr McAlpine claims he was arrested even though his sermon on the day of the arrest did not mention homosexuality.

He says a police community support officer warned him that he could be arrested if he made homophobic remarks.

He explained to the officer that he sometimes preached that homosexuality is a sin because the Bible teaches that this is so, but said he was not homophobic.

Uniformed police officers were then called and he was arrested under Section 5 Public Order Act which makes it a criminal offense to use “threatening, abusive or insulting” words or to behave in a way that could alarm or distress another person.

The charges against Mr McAlpine were dropped but Christian groups are calling for Section 5 of the Public Order Act to be amended as a number of Christians have been wrongfully arrested under this ruling.

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