A street preacher arrested for reportedly spewing hateful verses on homosexuality has been awarded £13,000 for wrongful imprisonment, after police detained him for 19 hours.
John Craven, a Christian street preacher, settled the claim with Great Manchester police, who he alleged had denied him food, water and access to medication for his rheumatoid arthritis.
The Christian Institute, which funded the legal claim against the police said Craven had been directly asked what he thought of homosexuals by two gay teenagers, but had declined to give a view, and had instead "quoted from the Bible", telling them that God hated the sin, He loves the sinner.
The two teens had then kissed in front of him.
The preacher was arrested under section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986, which criminalises the use of insulting words with the intention of causing harassment, alarm or distress.
Craven said in a statement released through his legal team: "I never intended to cause anyone harassment, alarm or distress. In fact, quite the opposite. I preach the gospel which means good news and the love of God for all.
"The actions of the police have left me feeling nervous and anxious. I found the whole episode extremely distressing.
"It appears that the actions of the police were calculated to give me and other street preachers the impression that we could not preach the gospel in public without breaking the law and if we did we would be arrested."
"It’s one of the worst cases we’ve seen and Manchester police’s behaviour was unlawful and totally out of line," said Colin Hart, director of the Christian Institute.
"When people ask questions, Christians should be able to answer by freely quoting from the Bible. No one should be placed in custody for 19 hours simply for expressing their beliefs."
The total cost for Greater Manchester Police, including both parties’ legal bills, will be over £50,000.
Greater Manchester Police have been asked to comment.
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