Two street preachers questioned over hate speech have all charges dropped

16 January 2018

David Barker, who has been a street preacher for 30 years, and Stephen Wan were cleared with the help of the Christian Legal Centre.

As they were preaching, a number of hecklers gathered and made trouble for the preachers. It was alleged that the preachers said “homosexuals are going to hell” and “man cannot lie with man”. The preachers did not say these things.

All people have sinned and fallen short

David spoke first about the good news and Christmas, he then explained that all people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and quoted John 3:16. He then challenged a self-professed atheist, and suggested that atheism was a ‘temporary condition’. Stephen then continued to explain the true meaning of Christmas and that Jesus was called ‘Jesus’ because he would save his people from their sins. He explained that that Jesus is the saviour because he came into the world to atone for the sins of all mankind. The previous heckler then returned, swearing and accusing him of preaching hate.

The heckler then asked about homosexuality, so Stephen explained the Genesis creation story and that marriage is an institution ordained by God for the purpose of procreation. Again, the heckler demanded to know what Stephen thought of homosexuality. Stephen then referred the heckler to the Bible. The police were then called.

Questioned under caution

On 30 December 2017, David and Stephen faced extensive questioning by the police under caution. They were represented by Christian Legal Centre’s allied solicitor, Michael Phillips who helped the clients explain to the police that they had freedom of speech which permitted them to explain the Christian message. In particular, they were free to explain what the Bible has to say about marriage; including what the Bible has to say about same-sex relationships. As an example, people are free to quote Romans 1:26-27, which says: “Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

“I want to thank the Christian Legal Centre”

Following the case, David said:

“I was miraculously converted nearly 4 decades ago when the Lord saved me from alcoholism. Ever since then I have dedicated my life to spreading the gospel and I have preached the gospel on the streets of Reading every Saturday for 30 years since then. I have never been interviewed by the police before. This is a concerning development. But I just want to thank the Christian Legal Centre for their help and support at this difficult time. They provided their help completely for free and I am very grateful.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said:

“We’re delighted that David and Stephen will not face charges for sharing the good news of Jesus with the public. Once again, the historic freedoms to preach Christianity on UK streets have been upheld. We are pleased to continue our excellent record of protecting street preachers in the UK by providing them with legal support, free of charge.”

Help us continue to support street preachers

The news comes shortly after two other street preachers who have been cleared with the Christian Legal Centre’s help. In December, Daniel Courney’s conviction was overturned on appeal and charges were dropped against Oluwole Ilesanmi.

Please pray for our Christian Legal Centre as they continue to work on similar cases.

  • Thank God that David and Stephen will not face charges.
  • Pray for continued wisdom and resources for our legal team to support preachers.
  • Pray for the continued freedom to share Christ on the streets of the UK.
Find out more about Oluwole Ilesanmi
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