John Craven, a Christian preacher, has received compensation from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) after he was imprisoned for telling a gay couple that ‘God hates sin, but he loves the sinner’. The teenage gay couple are said to have kissed in front of him and then reported that Mr Craven’s comments had caused them “harassment and distress”.
The preacher was “grabbed roughly by the arm” before being arrested on suspicion of a public order offence. Mr Craven was then held for 19 hours without food and water, and was denied medication for his rheumatoid arthritis.
After the ordeal he was bailed and informed that no further action would be taken against him.
John Craven said: “I told them that according to the word of God homosexuality is an abomination. That is not my opinion it is the word of God. I quoted them Revelation chapter 21 verse 8. This made them very upset and they started to do obscene gestures to me. They were deliberately trying to provoke me.
“I have to be very careful in these sort of situations so I did not give my own opinion, I just gave God’s word. But they said that I had taunted them and assaulted them verbally and before I knew it the police arrived. I couldn’t believe it.
“I have had confrontations with people before when I have been speaking but never anything like this. I did remained calm and co-operative even though I was being handled very roughly by the police officer.”
GMP have paid out £13,000 in compensation for the poor treatment of Mr Craven. Despite this the Police remain unapologetic claiming the detention was “necessary for a prompt and effective investigation” and compensation was only paid as fighting the case would have been more expensive that the pay out.
Under Public Order Act it is illegal to use insulting words with “the intention of causing harassment, alarm or distress”. The maximum sentence is six months in prison.