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Christian evangelist cleared at Sheriff's Court

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A Christian evangelist has been cleared of threatening and abusive behaviour, at a trial in Kilmarnock, Scotland.

Gordon Larmour was charged with behaving in a "threatening or abusive manner aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation" and "assault", after he shared the Christian position on homosexual practice with some young men in the street.

The trial happened on 9 January at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Gordon was found 'not guilty' after the evidence against him broke down.

Sharing the good news

Gordon, who often visits Irvine to offer gospel leaflets to people, offered a leaflet to a group of young men who were passing through the town. He shared with one of the men how meeting God had turned his life around.

Another of the men, who said he was a homosexual, asked Gordon for God's opinion of those who engage in homosexual practices. Gordon told him what the Bible teaches.

Gordon's answers angered the man and he tried to hit Gordon. The young men then began to chase Gordon and shouted abusive comments at him.

Police officers called to the scene were told by the young men that Gordon had made 'homophobic' remarks, so he was arrested and taken to a police station and held overnight.

Insufficient evidence

Gordon was charged with behaving in a "threatening or abusive manner aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation" and "assault".

At the trial on 9 January 2017, two of the young men who spoke with Gordon appeared as witnesses, along with a police officer.

The Sheriff made the decision for the case to be heard in private, concerned for the sensitivities for one of the young men.

But the young men's accounts of the events did not agree, and the police officer was unable to say for certain whether Gordon had said anything more than "the act [of homosexuality] was wrong".

Because the evidence against Gordon broke down, Gordon's solicitor, CLC allied lawyer Alastair Ross, made a submission of 'no case to answer'.

The Sheriff found that Gordon was 'not guilty' only an hour after the trial began.

'A wonderful result'

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, commented:

Gordon Larmour

"This is a wonderful result for Gordon and for Christian evangelists in the UK. Freedom of speech is being consistently undermined in the UK, but here is a win for common sense.

"It is a great surprise that this case was heard in private, and the accusers should have had the courage to give their evidence in public. It is a great relief that the judge ruled in favour of Gordon, because the case simply did not stand up to scrutiny.

"Christians need not be intimidated, and should take advantage of the freedom we have to share the good news about Jesus, who is the only hope for our nation."

Please join us in thanking God for this excellent result and pray that Gordon and others who seek to spread the good news of Jesus in Scotland, and elsewhere in the UK, will be encouraged by this victory.

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