Immediate 20.00 hrs Thursday 28th September 2006
The Crown Prosecution Service told Cardiff Magistrates Court this morning that they were withdrawing Public Order Act charges against the National Director of Christian Voice following the organisation's leafleting at the homosexual 'Mardi Gras' earlier this month.
Around fifty supporters of the evangelical organisation gathered outside the Court buildings in
Fitzalan Place, Cardifff,
before cramming the court room to hear the charges formally dropped.
The outcome was not totally unexpected. At a hearing earlier this month, at which Mr Green entered a plea of 'Not Guilty', the Prosecutor himself voiced grave reservations over the human rights implications of the high-profile case. In the end, the Prosecutor claimed there was 'not enough evidence' to proceed.
Stephen Green said today, "I am pleased the charges have been dropped, although I was prepared to fight the case all the way. But the CPS decision raises the question of why the police arrested me in the first place. I shall be taking legal advice over bringing an action against South Wales Police for unlawful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
Mr Green was arrested by South Wales Police on Saturday 2nd September. An Inspector Alexander Chadd, wearing a fluorescent vest with 'Minorities Support Unit' on the back, detained him when he refused to stop giving out the leaflets to people entering
, where the 'Mardi Gras' event was being held.
Mr Green was kept in the cells at Cardiff Police Station for over four hours before being charged with using 'threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby, contrary to section 5(1) and (6) of the Public Order Act 1986'.
Stephen Green continued:
"The last thing on my mind that Saturday morning was that I was going to be arrested. We gave out the leaflets without a problem last year and chatted with people in a low-key and friendly way. So would we this year, had not the police acted beyond their lawful power.
"I am constantly hearing stories of Christian preachers being told to shut up by bullying police officers with personal issues or axes to grind. In most cases they simply comply. But if we are to safeguard our historic freedoms, someone has to make a stand.
"I am astonished that South Wales Police have a special unit dedicated to silencing those who might ruffle the feathers of a certain contentious minority. Stonewall, the homosexual rights organisation, say the South Wales Police 'Minorities Support Unit' 'works closely with the LGBT communities'. Maybe they work a bit too closely when an evangelist can be victimised simply because he is giving out leaflets quoting verses from the same Bible police officers swear on in court.
"Speaking about righteousness, morality, sin, repentance and the forgiveness sinners can find in the cross of Jesus Christ may well offend the fragile sensibilities of homosexuals, but should the police have a partisan unit whose job is to round up Christian dissidents, treat them like thought criminals and trample on freedom of speech?
"The leaflet itself, 'Same-Sex Love - Same-Sex Sex; What does the Bible say?' (The text is below or click here for a link: www.christianvoice.org.uk/media/Same-SexSex.pdf) isn't even that hard-hitting. Sure, it quotes the Bible to establish that same-sex sex is sin, it says that no-one has to stay gay and asks how the reader will stand in the Day of Judgment. But it concentrates on the Parable of the Prodigal Son, those words of the Lord Jesus which have given countless people down the ages the assurance of God's forgiveness if they truly repent. It ends by quoting the famous verse of John 3:16, 'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life'. That's good news.
"The Cross will always be 'a rock of offence' to those who disobey God's eternal word. But what are we coming to when the gay-friendly police of South Wales regard the majestic words of the King James Bible, which is read in churches up and down the land and upon which the Queen took her Coronation Oath, as 'threatening, abusive or insulting'?
"Next year the Cardiff Mardi Gras is on 1st September 2007. I am praying for the place to be flooded with Christian evangelists, taking out the good news of Jesus Christ to sinners in need of salvation. And unless the Lord intervenes with a better idea, I expect the yellow Gospel leaflets which so offended the South Wales Police Minorities Support Unit to be given out by the thousand."