Anti-gay preacher arrested for ‘homophobic’ election leaflets

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A Christian street preacher has been arrested for distributing leaflets which allegedly said gay men and lesbians should be “locked up”.

Paul Shaw, 62, of Duffield Drive, Colchester, stood as an independent candidate in May’s general election, although he polled just 20 votes.

He did not specify his political beliefs or describe himself on the ballot paper but a member of the public complained to police after being handed one of his election leaflets.

According to the Colchester Daily Gazette, it condemned gays and lesbians and said they should be jailed.

Mr Shaw was arrested on June 11th on suspicion of inciting hatred, specifically homophobia. He was released on bail without charge until the middle of next month.

He is known around the town as a street preacher and was arrested in February after police received complaints he was ranting at shoppers about the “evils” of homosexuality.

He denied using threatening words or behaviour and escaped charges after refusing to be bound over to keep the peace, which is a criminal conviction.

The case was dismissed as the prosecution could offer no written evidence from complainants and Mr Shaw argued his right to free speech.

Mr Shaw claimed that there would be “terrible consequences” if homosexuality was not made illegal again soon and warned that God’s judgment was “not very far away”.

In February, he was warned by district judge David Cooper that further complaints could land him back in court.

Judge Cooper said: “There are other sorts of ‘sins’. Do you think you could concentrate on those for a bit?”