Current News 

Case against street preacher thrown out

In a failed court action raised against evangelist Kenny Macdonald it became apparent that there was no evidence to support complaints made against the Inverness-based preacher who insists that his message of God's love will never change.

 


 
But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,  for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.                        Matthew 10:19-20


 Kenny Macdonald (left) in Inverness High Street
Kenny Macdonald4IT surely must be highly unusual for a complainant in a court case to provide a glowing character reference for the accused person in the dock, but this is what happened yesterday in Inverness Sheriff Court when local street preacher Kenny Macdonald stood charged with causing upset and alarm with his ‘direct’ message.

In the event, the case against the evangelist that he had behaved in a threatening and abusive manner was thrown out by Sheriff Ian Abercrombie.

During the courtroom proceedings and speaking from the witness box, Street trader Kim Avis (48) testified that he "liked Kenny" and respected his integrity and right to preach, albeit suggesting that the latter should maybe soften his style.

As last Friday's (03/02/11) case proceeded, it was quickly apparent that Croy falconer Thomas Horne (63) – the other principal witnesses for the Crown – had no corroborating evidence to support his allegations against Macdonald.

Horne had claimed and yesterday testifed that the preacher had upset a Roman Catholic mother and her children. However Macdonald's solicitor, Inverness-based Marc Dickson, in defending his client had very little difficulty in undermining Horne's credibility as a witness.

The 'Amplified' version..

Meanwhile Avis, a local stall-holder and the other main witness, spoke of how he liked and respected the evangelist as a person; and that he should be free to preach what he believes. Avis told the court: “Kenny means well and tries to bring people to religion but he is quite loud and people can be offended by his preaching. He is a devout and passionate man, but some of the things he says are hard on people”.
Avis said that he found it difficult to speak to his customers because of Macdonald’s preaching. However, what did not come out in court is that the local trader operates his business selling small items of jewellery in the same spot as a busker who uses amplification for his singing, guitar and drums.
In fact though it is perfectly legal to use amplification, for most of the time Macdonald doesn’t do this; and on many occasions his 'preaching' is merely sings hymns as he walks along the street.

In giving his account in court concerning Macdonald’s street work, Avis continued: “I hope he continues what he is doing but not scare them saying they will go to Hell if they don’t believe.”
In the event, as the case unfolded, it became apparent that there was no substantiated case to answer. In this context, the case and the background to it, which never came out in court, raises a series of important questions that remain to be answered.

Prior to coming to Inverness in August 2010 Macdonald had spent time conducting his ministry of street preaching in Glasgow, Blackpool, Southport and Liverpool. Over a period of over 30 years he has had no previous complaints made against him. Needless to say the legal process which ran for almost a year, placed the evangelist under considerable strain.

Strong support from across the churches

However, before, during and immediately after the court proceedings Macdonald was much encouraged by the support of a number of Christians coming from a cross section of local churches. Those present in the courthouse on the public benches included Revs. Tom Urquhart and David Williams – the pastors at Inverness Baptist Church and Inverness Christian Fellowship respectively.
Dr. Donald Boyd who heads up the Scottish Christian Party was also part of the grouping.

Speaking to Christians Together after the verdict, the Kilwinning-born evangelist said: “By the grace of God, from the day I was converted God put in my heart to tell people that Jesus loved them and died for them. That has been my motivation and my heart’s desire since then. ” However, for ‘Kenny the Christian’, he remains committed to preaching the unchanging Gospel insisting: “My message will remain the same.”

In the video below – taken around the time of the original complaints last Spring – Kenny can be seen handing out Gospel literature during the Easter ‘Silent Witness’ in April 2011. Included in the video are opening shots of the most familiar street busker, the falconer Thomas Horne and Kim Avis’s street stall – all located around that intersection on the High Street.

 
 Christian witness in Inverness: Easter 2011 


Kenny Macdonald3

 


 
Footnotes:
Just a year before the complaint was raised against Kenny Macdonald an American street preacher was arrested and detained in jail. In the event Shawn Holes pled guilty in order to be freed and return to his family in America but legal opinion, given in retrospect, suggests that the charges would not have stuck.
An interview with one of Hole's colleagues reveals some very disturbing behaviour by the the police in Glasgow.
 Interview with colleague of Shawn Holes 
Get the Flash Player or an HTML 5 compatible browser to see this player.

 

The incidents of street preachers being harassed would seem to be on the increase and some other cases have been documented and recorded by the Christian Institute.

 

Christians Together, 04/02/2012

Street Preacher arrested in Glasgow Shawn Holes
An America Baptist street preacher was jailed in Glasgow because of responses that he gave to questions about homosexuality and Islam. The charges against him related to breach of the peace, homophobia and sectarianism.
Downloads: 682
Recorded: 25/03/2010
Length: 35 minutes
Listen Download MP3 Audio (128Kbps, 10.3MB)

Feedback:
(page   1   2)
A Christian (Guest) 04/02/2012 20:48
Preach on, Kenny, preach on!
iMac (Guest) 05/02/2012 01:43
Thank you ED for clarifying the quote. Apologies for not explaining the details.
Peter Carr 05/02/2012 09:30
In Jn 1: 14 we are reminded that Jesus came from The Father full of grace and truth. This case is a reminder to all Christians that we are to hold truth in balance with grace. There should always be compassion towards those who we are telling God's truth to, thus reflecting more of Jesus and less of our old sinful natures.

The Apostle Peter sums it up well; 1 Pet 3: 15 - 16 "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander"
N.D. (Guest) 05/02/2012 17:45
Makes a change to hear of a complainant actually giving a glowing character reference to the one of whom he was complaining about ,that tells you something about the man Kenny MacDonald. It's not always the case though ,as even as a christian I find the agressive way some street preachers conduct themselves very off putting, instead of drawing the sinner to Christ , their actions can have the opposite effect. Jesus never had this problem with the ordinary people as opposed to the religious rulers of the day , even the little children loved to be around him to listen to the wonderful parables he told . No wonder it was said of Jesus " Never man spake like this man."
A Christian (Guest) 05/02/2012 23:20
"And He (Jesus) answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." Luke 19:40
Editor 06/02/2012 09:13
Note to 'A Christian': Believers who are posting on a regular basis are encouraged to register with the Christians Together site. (Registered members can - if they so wish - make postings under a 'screen name'.)
Donald Boyd 11/02/2012 20:41
Does anyone know if the police returned the video footage in the American evangelist case (listen to the audio above)?

Kenny denies that he threatened people. He claims to say the opposite. See http://www.highlandscp.org/news/free-speech-upheld-in-inverness/

Editor 12/02/2012 09:34
Donald has written:
"An attempt to convict a street evangelist of behaving in an abusive manner in spreading the gospel in Inverness city centre has failed.

Sheriff Ian Abercrombie said that Kenneth Macdonald had no case to answer and acquitted Macdonald of all charges.

He was accused of causing alarm to a woman and her children by saying that they are going to hell. Kenneth Macdonald says that he would never say that to anyone; rather, he tells them: “Don’t go to hell!”

It was not clear during court proceedings who was the original complainant. It is a feature of the persecution of Christians that complainers go to the police and leave the Procurator Fiscal to promote their accusation on their behalf. In this case, the Fiscal was hung out to dry by lack of corroborating evidence.

Hopefully the police will begin to realise that they are being used as pawns in the humanist campaign against Christianity. The humanists cannot win the argument with words, so they use the force of law.

The public gallery in the court room was well filled with supportive Christians."
Editor 12/02/2012 09:35
Donald asked: "Does anyone know if the police returned the video footage in the American evangelist case (listen to the audio above)?"

I would probably be able to contact these guys as I was in touch with them at the time.
Editor 12/02/2012 13:42
Victory for Free Speech as Christian preacher found not guilty.

Street Preacher Mike Overd was today (10 Feb) cleared by Taunton Magistrates' Court of a ‘Hate Crime’ for preaching against homosexual conduct.

Mr Overd was arrested under the Public Order Act 1986 for preaching which stated 'even these dear men caught in homosexuality, if they ask God for forgiveness of sin can be forgiven their sin; God loves them that much.'

Craig Nichol and Craig Manning entered into a civil partnership last June and claimed that Mr Overd had singled them out as ‘sinners’ as they walked down Taunton High Street arm in arm. Mr Overd denied that he insulted the pair and simply acknowledged them and spoke about the hope, restoration and forgiveness that can be found in Christ.

The couple complained to police who arrested and charged the preacher with ‘hate crime’ for stating his traditional Biblical views on the practice of homosexuality.

In court, Mr Overd told Magistrates that it was he who was intimidated. He told the Bench that he was verbally abused and had to seek police protection, only to find later that he was the one who was arrested.

Following the ‘Not Guilty’ verdict by the Magistrates, Mr Overd said:

"This is a case that should never have been brought. Christians like me are being harassed. Thankfully the Magistrates saw the truth of what happened and is happening on a wider scale in our country.

Read on.... http://www.christianconcern.com/our-concerns/religious-freedom/victory-for-free-speech-as-christian-preacher-found-not-guilty
(page   1   2)

NOTICE: - The 'Response' facility on some articles may be restricted to CT site members. In these circumstances comments/questions from non-site members should be sent to the Editor by e-mail: editor<atsign>christianstogether.net

Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Current News > Case against street preacher thrown out