An evangelical street preacher from Birmingham who was arrested for preaching that homosexuality is immoral had reason to rejoice as a court ordered the West Midlands police to pay over 4,000 UK pounds for legal expenses arising out of the wrongful arrest and imprisonment.
On June 24, Anthony Rollins a Christian preacher who suffers from autism was preaching using the King James Bible and told passersby that homosexual conduct is morally wrong. A member of the public identified as John Edwards objected to the message and shouted at Rollins before calling the police to arrest him.
Rollins was arrested on the spot without any further investigation. He was detained at the police station for three hours and never given an opportunity to explain his side. The court came down heavily on the police for ‘unnecessarily’ handcuffing Rollins.
The judge who ruled in the case, Lance Ashorth QC, told the police that they had arrested Rollins “as a matter of routine “without any thought being given to (his) Convention Rights (to free speech and religious liberty).”
Street preaching in Britain goes back to the 17th century. Until recently, the police and other authorities looked upon it with tolerance. However, recent developments in Britain seem to indicate that street preaching which was once used by Methodist movement’s founder John Wesley to promote his ideas is under threat.