CPS drops charges against Cumbria Street Preacher

And quite right to. Since when was it against the law to quote the Bible?

A Christian street preacher arrested and hauled before the courts for saying homosexuality was sinful has had the charge against him dropped.

Dale Mcalpine, 42, was held in a cell for seven hours before being charged with a public order offence for telling a gay police community support officer that he believed homosexuals were going against the word of God.

But yesterday he was celebrating ‘a victory for common sense’ after the case was dropped.

Mr Mcalpine said: ‘It was a ridiculous charge and I should never have been arrested in the first place.’

On April 20 Mr Mcalpine was talking to shoppers and handing out leaflets in Workington, in Cumbria.

Hewas allegedly warned he was committing an offence by PCSO Sam Adams – his force’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender liaison officer – who said there had been complaints .

After an exchange in which Mr Mcalpine said that ‘the Bible says homosexuality is a crime against the Creator, but it was not against the law to say this’, the officer called for assistance and Mr Mcalpine was arrested.

Mr Mcalpine, who works in the energy industry, said he told the officers that while he was not homophobic, he did believe homosexuality was a sin and there was no law against saying so.

He had his fingerprints, a retina scan and a DNA swab taken, and was placed in a cell for seven hours before being charged with causing harassment, alarm or distress contrary to the Public Order Act 1986.

He appeared before magistrates in the town the following week where he pleaded not guilty to the charge and vowed to fight it.

Yesterday the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the charge.

Now personally I wouldn’t do street preaching on this subject (seems rather a waste of time) but I think the law needs to defend those who do.  Interestingly, there is now live video footage available of the moment of arrest. To be honest, I think Mcalpine could do with a quick brush up on the law. The amendment was moved a while back by Lord Waddington and is still on the statute book. The Waddington amendment (29JA) to the 2008 Criminal Justice Bill reads:

In this Part, for the avoidance of doubt, the discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred.

Pretty clear cut I think and any attempt to arrest as a “racially motivated” Section 5 Public Order offence is just silly. I hope they sue for compensation.

Here’s the footage.

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