Christian Legal Centre client, Pastor David Lynn (pictured above), was released on Wednesday (21 March) without charge after being arrested outside Barking Tube Station on 20 March 2018 for preaching the gospel.
David was held at Fresh Wharf Custody Base in Barking for over 20 hours, during which he was questioned by the police under caution.
Preached for 22 years without being convicted
Pastor David, who leads a church in Toronto, has preached on the streets for over 22 years without conviction. He also leads a ministry called Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries, based in Toronto, which has 40,000 supporters and a YouTube channel with over 8.8 million views.
David began preaching at 1pm on Tuesday, and arrived outside Barking Tube Station at 3.30pm, where a group of supporters joined him. He preached about people searching for love in the wrong places, and that it is only through a right relationship with Christ that this deep need can be satisfied.
A crowd formed, and David frequently handed the microphone to onlookers to allow them to respond to his preaching. It was alleged that David called a homosexual lady in the crowd ‘perverse’ and ‘sinful’, though he denies this and video footage captured of the preaching does not substantiate her complaint. Instead, it shows groups of supporters cheering, chanting ‘Jesus’ and supporting David throughout his preaching. The atmosphere was more like a carnival that a confrontation.
“We were wrong to arrest David”
David was later approached by the police after the lady alleged that his comments had been homophobic. He was arrested and taken to the custody base, without having the opportunity to explain his story.
After holding David for 20 hours, the interviewing officers admitted that the police had been wrong to arrest him. They expressed regret that he had been held for so long, and recognised that his right to freedom of expression should have been better protected.
“I am grateful to the Christian Legal Centre”
Following the case, David said:
“My vision is to bring the life changing message of Jesus Christ's love and forgiveness to the world through evangelism. I am passionate about igniting and uniting the global body of Christ for the evangelistic mandate, and I want to bring the message of salvation to the entire world, keeping the focus on Christ and spreading God's love and forgiveness found in Jesus. What happened on Tuesday shocked me, and I am grateful to the Christian Legal Centre for responding immediately to my arrest and helping me avoid being charged”.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said:
“The police’s readiness to arrest David is another example of the freedom of street preachers being curtailed. We are delighted that he has not been charged for sharing the good news of Jesus, and we remain committed to providing expert legal support, free of charge, where street preachers face trouble with the police”.
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