A criminal case against a Christian street preacher in the UK arrested in 2020 for alleged hate speech has been dismissed.

The prosecution for the UK government has argued that John Dunn, a 55-year-old British Army Special Forces veteran who preached openly for 15 years in the south-west English city of Swindon, was guilty of hate speech when he offended members of the public by denouncing homosexuality, according to the Christian Legal Center in London.

Dunn was scheduled for another court hearing on Nov. 13, which could have seen him slapped with a criminal record, but the case was dropped after the women who complained about him refused to pursue the case any further.

During the incident on 1 November 2020 which led to his arrest, Dunn was preaching in Swindon town center when two women walked past him holding hands and said: ‘I hope you are sisters.’

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The UK government has argued that John Dunn, a 55-year-old British Army Special Forces veteran, was guilty of hate speech. Dunn’s case has since been dismissed.
(Christian concern)

When the women told him they were in a same-sex marriage, Dunn replied, “It says in the Bible that homosexuals ‘shall not inherit the kingdom of God,'” quoting the sixth chapter of 1 Corinthians. The women later reported him to the police.

When Dunn volunteered to go to the local police station for an interview about the incident, he was reportedly told that if he attempted to leave the station, he would be arrested under a public order law which prohibits threatening and offensive words or behavior during the hearing. or the sight of someone who “is liable to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby”.

Dunn’s legal counsel, who was hired by the Christian Legal Center, argued that he said what he did to women out of spiritual interest in them.

They further argued that Dunn’s interaction with law enforcement violated his human rights under Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) regarding freedom of thought, conscience, religion and expression .

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John Dunn, a 55-year-old British Army Special Forces veteran, has been preaching openly for 15 years in the southwestern English city of Swindon.

John Dunn, a 55-year-old British Army Special Forces veteran, has been preaching openly for 15 years in the southwestern English city of Swindon.
(Allan Baxter via Getty Images)

Strong opinions must be protected “even if they cross the sensibilities of the majority of the population”, they argued, and that “the simple transmission of biblical truth” cannot reach the threshold of inciting illegal hatred.

Lawyers representing the government reportedly argued that the charges against Dunn were “proportionate” to his words, and used Old Testament teachings on the death penalty to argue that “there are references in the Bible that simply don’t are more appropriate in modern society and would be considered offensive if stated in public.”

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Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Center who represented Dunn, praised the legal outcome in a statement provided to Fox News Digital, but said the government’s prosecution attitude towards the Bible in the case was “deeply troubling “.

Outdoor preaching has a long history in the UK Pictured is a Christian preacher at the entrance to Hyde Park in London in the 1930s.

Outdoor preaching has a long history in the UK Pictured is a Christian preacher at the entrance to Hyde Park in London in the 1930s.
(API / Contributor via Getty Images)

“The Bible and its teachings are the foundation of our society and have provided many of the freedoms and protections we still enjoy today,” Williams said. “It is extraordinary that the prosecution, speaking on behalf of the state, can claim that the Bible contains offensive words which, if spoken in public, constitute a crime.”

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“The view from [government] was that the Bible is offensive and contains illegal talk that should not be shared in public,” he wrote. Any suggestion that there is a right not to be offended must be strongly rejected. In today’s democracy, we need the freedom to argue, challenge and disagree.”

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Arrests of street preachers in the UK for hate crimes, breach of the peace or similar offenses have repeatedly made international headlines in recent years.

Hatun Tash was awarded £10,000 in damages in October 2022 for her repeated arrests by the London Metropolitan Police.

Hatun Tash was awarded £10,000 in damages in October 2022 for her repeated arrests by the London Metropolitan Police.
(Christian concern)

Most recently, London’s Metropolitan Police apologized in October and paid £10,000 in damages to Hatun Tash, a female Christian evangelist who has contested her multiple 2020 arrests.

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Tash, who is part of a group called Defend Christ Critique Islam (DCCI), has frequently spoken at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park in London and has sometimes drawn backlash for publicly discussing Islam and the Koran, including one incident where allegedly she was stabbed in the face by Islamic extremists.

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