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'Victory' for Christian street preacher accused of using “homophobic language” by Scottish police

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Issued on behalf of Christian Concern

Press Release

For Immediate Release

13 June 2014


'Victory' for Christian street preacher accused of using “homophobic language” by Scottish police 


Police in Scotland have dropped all charges against a Christian evangelist arrested for allegedly using ‘homophobic language” after a single member of the public made an official complaint about his street preaching.
 
Tony Miano (50), a former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff, was on a one-week street-preaching mission in January with another evangelist Josh Williamson. He was arrested whilst preaching in Dundee when police officers told him his comments had offended a member of the public and that he was being arrested under ‘hate-crime’ legislation.  Mr Miano, protested his innocence and said they could see his preaching on video to prove he had done nothing wrong and that his message was one of hope to be found in Jesus Christ.  The officers refused to look at the footage and took the evangelist to the police station where he was detained for 24 hours.
 
The Christian Legal Centre supported and underwrote Mr Miano’s legal representation. After months of representation by solicitor John Kydd, Tony Miano has now been informed that he will face no charges.
 
Responding to the charges being dropped, Mr Miano says: “It took months for the prosecutors to view the footage despite our best endeavours from the very beginning to get them to do so. When the Prosecutors finally managed to get the video footage off my camera they could plainly see that the accuser had made allegations about my speech that were simply untrue. The Prosecutors found nothing in my preaching that constituted ‘hate speech’ and came to the conclusion that they had no case against me. Had the officers who arrested me taken a few minutes to review the video footage, they would have seen what I have maintained all along. This has been a stressful time for my family.”

He explains that while he no longer faces trial, the matter is not yet over. “There is still the issue of getting back my equipment, including the footage it contains.  I am also seeking legal advice as to redress in Scotland's civil courts against the Scottish Police.”
 
After receiving news that his case had been dropped, Mr Miano thanked the CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, Andrea Williams, and his lawer, Mr Kydd, for their support throughout his ordeal.

Andrea Williams says: “This case shows yet again how confused the situation has become. A single passer-by can allege ‘hurt’ ‘offence’ and an innocent preacher gets arrested, taken to a cell and held for many hours. This has a deeply chilling impact on all of us; on our fundamental freedom to speak out about what we believe in for fear of ‘causing offence’ and being punished by the state for doing so.’
 
“Clearly there is a pressing need for the Association of Chief Police Officers to work with those of us representing street preachers to come up with guidelines on ‘best practice’ for police services across the country to ensure that officers on the beat do not take away the fundamental freedom of Christians to do open air evangelism on the streets of the United Kingdom."
ENDS.
 
For more information/interviews
Garry Selfridge – 07545 696 207
Andrea Williams – 07712 591 164
 

 
 

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