Don't charge Pastor Sherwood

Education the police and protect free speech!

 

Don't charge Pastor Sherwood

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Don't charge Pastor Sherwood

On Friday 23rd April, Pastor John Sherwood, a 71-year old father and grandfather was handcuffed, arrested and held in custody overnight because the Metropolitan police disapproved of his preaching which expounded Christian biblical views regarding marriage and biological sex. The clip was uploaded to YouTube where police officers can clearly be seen surrounding the pastor, pulling him off his small platform, rough-housing him, handcuffing him and bundling him into a van where he was detained overnight before being questioned.

Pastor Sherwood was not in breach of any UK laws - his behaviour was neither threatening nor offensive and indeed is legally protected. The Public Order Act explicitly says that discussion of sexual conduct or criticism of the sex of parties to marriage, shall not be taken to be threatening or intending to stir up hatred.

The police arrested Pastor Sherwood because they claimed that his statements about marriage being one man and one woman and that God created two sexes, male and female, were causing ‘alarm and distress. Another officer emphasised the need to avoid ‘homophobic’ statements and incorrectly informed the pastor’s colleague that there was no freedom to make statements that offend others!

After his arrest and detention overnight, Pastor Sherwood was then subjected to an official interview which included intrusive questioning about how he would if a family member identified as LGBT. This goes well beyond the remit of the police whose job it is to identify the circumstances of an alleged crime, not to interrogate a suspect over their views on sexual morality!

There has been a spate of similar incidents of street preachers being arrested in London over the past few years. It is abundantly clear that the Metropolitan police need urgent training in the law. Freedom of speech includes the ability to say things in public that other people may find offensive.


 Sources:

https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/marched-off-to-the-cells-for-preaching-gods-word/

https://www.spiked-online.com/2021/04/30/why-are-the-police-handcuffing-street-preachers/

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Review the case of Pastor Sherwood

To Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and Max Hill QC Director of Public Prosecutions.

The case of Pastor John Sherwood, aged 71 is currently under review by the Crown Prosecution Service, following his arrest under the Public Order Act, in Uxbridge on Friday 23 April.

It is evident from the video footage of the pastor’s arrest that he was not committing any crime whatsoever. He was not arrested for refusing to come down from his steps, but under section 5 of the Public Order Act, that he was causing alarm and distress.

There is nothing to suggest that the pastor was causing any breach of the peace by his preaching, there were no scuffles or disturbances, however, the police officers did not like what he had to say about sex, gender and marriage.

The Public Order Act is explicitly clear that public discussions about sexual conduct and marriage shall not be taken as being threatening or inciting hatred. Furthermore, the police should not have interrogated Pastor Sherwood during his interview about how he would apply his moral values in personal family relationships.

This is not an isolated incident - another Christian pastor, Oluwole Ilesamni was similarly arrested in 2019 for preaching from the bible and later compensated for the Met’s mistake.

It is clear that Metropolitan police officers do not have an adequate understanding of the law and are quashing our fundamental freedom of speech.

Any prosecution of Pastor Sherwood is not in the public interest and would only serve to further undermine public confidence in the police.

I am therefore calling on you not only to drop any pending charges against Pastor Sherwood, but also to ensure that Metropolitan police officers have adequate training on how to apply the Public Order Act bearing in mind Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. 

[az Ön neve]

Don't charge Pastor Sherwood

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