Scottish police drop charges against Christian street preacher

Published 14 June 2014  |  
(Photo: Dave Edmonds)

A former LA deputy sheriff arrested while street preaching in Scotland has been told by police he will no longer face charges.

Tony Miano was arrested in Dundee after a member of the public complained he had been using "homophobic language".

He was on a weeklong street-preaching mission in the city in January with evangelist Josh Williamson when he was arrested under hate-crime legislation.

The Christian Legal Centre, which represented him, said he was held by police for 24 hours and that they refused to watch video footage of his street preaching.

Mr Miano, 50, said it "took months" for the prosecutors to watch the footage.

"When the prosecutors finally managed to get the video footage off my camera they could plainly see that the accuser had made allegations about my speech that were simply untrue," he said.

"The prosecutors found nothing in my preaching that constituted 'hate speech' and came to the conclusion that they had no case against me.

"Had the officers who arrested me taken a few minutes to review the video footage, they would have seen what I have maintained all along. This has been a stressful time for my family."

While the charges have been dropped and Mr Miano will no longer have to stand trial, he says his equipment has still not been returned.

He said he is also considering taking the Scottish police to court over their treatment of him.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said Mr Miano's arrest showed there was confusion around laws.

"A single passer-by can allege 'hurt', 'offence' and an innocent preacher gets arrested, taken to a cell and held for many hours," she said.

"This has a deeply chilling impact on all of us. on our fundamental freedom to speak out about what we believe in for fear of 'causing offence' and being punished by the state for doing so."

She said there was a "pressing need" for the police force to work with Christians on guidelines that would prevent more street evangelists from being arrested in the UK.

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