'Gay sin' arrest preacher to sue Cumbria Police

Image caption,
Mr Mcalpine said he would sue the arresting officer and chief constable

A Christian preacher who told police homosexuality was "a sin" is planning to sue for wrongful arrest.

Dale Mcalpine was charged with a public order offence after speaking to a community support officer (PCSO) in Workington, Cumbria, in April.

The charge was later dropped by Cumbria Police, which said it respected freedom of expression.

Mr Mcalpine said he would launch a civil action against the arresting officer and the chief constable.

He also intends to sue for false imprisonment and unlawful interference with his right to freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

The 42-year-old, who denies being homophobic, was preaching to shoppers when he said he was approached by a PCSO, who told him he was a liaison officer for the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

After a discussion with the PCSO, during which the preacher made the comment, he was arrested by a uniformed officer.

Mr Mcalpine denies making any mention of homosexuality in his sermon.

He said: "As a Christian man, I forgive the police for their actions. However, I also want to protect others who may face similar problems in the future.

"This can't just be brushed under the carpet, freedom of speech is too precious for that."

Mr Mcalpine's arrest was criticised by veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell who said criminalisation of anyone's views was a step too far.

A spokesperson for Cumbria Police said: "We can confirm that we have received a letter from Mr Mcalpine however we will be unable to comment further on this at this time.

"We would like to reassure the public that we respect, and are committed to upholding, the fundamental right to freedom of expression.

"We are just as committed to maintaining the peace and preventing people feeling alarmed or distressed by the actions of others in public places."

The Christian Institute charity, which acts to defend religious liberty for Christians, is supporting Mr Mcalpine and financing his legal action.

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