Heather Clark – February 28, 2017
BRISTOL, UK — Two street preachers who were arrested last July on accusations of “causing a disturbance” and engaging in “anti-social behavior” after some listeners became offended by their speech about issues such as Islam, Buddhism, homosexuality and divorce have been found guilty of “intentionally alarming” the public with open-air preaching.
The verdict against Michael Overd of the U.K. and Michael Stockwell of the U.S. was handed down Tuesday in Bristol Magistrates’ Court. They were fined nearly $2,500 each.
The men had been on trial over accusations that they violated a section of the Crime and Disorder Act, which prohibits speech or behavior causing “intentional harassment, alarm or distress” that is “racially or religiously aggravated.”
During their trial, prosecutor Ian Jackson “told the court some of the statements made by the preachers may have been in the King James Bible, translated in 1611, but that did not mean they were acceptable in 2016,” according to the Daily Mail.