Arrested Christian Street Preacher Regains Freedom; Plans to Sue the Police

On February 2020, a Christian woman was arrested while preaching outside Finsbury Park tube station, London. Hazel Lewis was accused of making racist and homophobic statements. She was remanded at Charing Cross Station under Section 4 of the Public Order Act.

Christian Concern reported that her arrest warranted some questions from the public. The reason was that her crimes could not be pointed. More so, there was no evidence that she broke a law.

The 49-year-old has been preaching on the streets for 12 years and she often records her messages. While she was arrested, she released the audio recordings of her preaching which showed that the accusations against her were not true. Likewise, she didn’t commit any crime.

Meanwhile, the head of public policy of Christian Concern, Tim Dieppe, expressed worry over the decision of the police in arresting Christians who choose to preach on the streets.

He informed Premier News that the police shouldn’t have arrested Lewis initially. He said, "In spite of evidence from the recording that she said nothing hateful, they still proceeded to prosecute her. And the real question is, why did this happen? Police should never have arrested her, number one. Then point two, they shouldn't have charged her because they knew from the evidence recording that there was nothing wrong. There was no crime committed."

"Countless times police have arrested street preachers and charged them and then it's been proven in court there was no offense. When that happens time and time again you have to wonder why are the police arresting these street preachers? The police need to change their policy and stop arresting these preachers, and instead, protect them and stop people from harassing them," he added.

On July 28, 2021, Lewis faced trial at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court. She got support from the Christian Legal Centre. A police officer who reviewed Lewis’ recording and stood as a witness said that someone had provoked Lewis to talk about homosexuality but she refused. 

Also, he said that "at no point do you hear her make any homophobic or racist remarks against anyone. She at no point during the recording did she call for the stabbing or murder of any group based on their lack of religious beliefs."

In the ruling of the District Judge, Julia Newton, she said that there was no case to answer. Although anyone could have disagreed with Lewis’ statements, they were still not threatening or abusive.

Christian Concern equally reported that Lewis has plans to sue the Metropolitan Police Department as regards her arrest.

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