Christian preacher John Craven held ‘without food or water’

John Kersey writes: We have covered this and other similar matters before but this case is surely one of the most egregious that has yet come to public notice. There must be a clear directive from government that upholds the right to state in public the beliefs of any religion – whether Christianity, Judaism, Islam or any other – in response to a question from a member of the public, without fear of arrest or imprisonment under conditions such as those described below.

This is a clear example of powers under Public Order legislation that are being used far beyond the original intentions of those who passed them into law. The effect of such action is repressive and its targets potentially unlimited.

A story like this gives the lie to any mainstream politician who would maintain that we still live in a free country.

A Christian street preacher who was held by police without food or water for 15 hours after he was arrested over comments he made to two gay teenagers has been given £13,000 in compensation.

John Craven was held in Manchester after two boys claimed they were offended by his views on homosexuality.

The 57-year-old said the experience in September 2011 had been “distressing”.

Greater Manchester Police agreed to compensate Mr Craven after he alleged a breach of his human rights.

Mr Craven, who has regularly preached in Manchester city centre for seven years, was approached by the boys while he was preaching about salvation.

He said the teenagers asked him what he thought of gays, which he had answered by quoting from the Bible’s teachings on the subject, before adding that “whilst God hates sin, He loves the sinner”.

He said the pair then began to kiss in front of him and act out sexual acts.

The boys then reported Mr Craven to a nearby mounted police constable, who placed him under arrest for “public order offences”.

He was taken to a city centre police station and held for 19 hours while an investigation took place.

He said that within this time, he was denied food, water and his medication for rheumatoid arthritis for 15 hours.

He added that he was eventually given a bowl of cereal and a microwave meal after a friend complained about his treatment.

He said he had “never intended to cause anyone harassment, alarm or distress – in fact, quite the opposite”.

“The actions of the police have left me feeling nervous and anxious [and] I found the whole episode extremely distressing,” he said.

Mr Craven brought legal action against the force alleging wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and a breach of his human rights.

His case was supported by The Christian Institute, a charity that promotes the Christian faith.

Director Colin Hart said: “Nobody should face 19 hours in custody for simply answering a question about their beliefs.

“The disgraceful way in which Mr Craven was treated fell well below what the public deserve.

“In terms of the infringement of religious liberty, it was one of the worst cases we have ever dealt with.”

Greater Manchester Police agreed to pay a total of £50,000 in costs and compensation in an out-of-court settlement.

Supt Alan Greene said the force could not “go into detail about the circumstances, [but] we can acknowledge that we did make mistakes and, in particular, kept the claimant in custody for too long”.

14 responses to “Christian preacher John Craven held ‘without food or water’

  1. They kept him in custody ‘too long’? How long would Supt. Greene consider adequate, one wonders?

    The Queen is head of the Church whose Book the Minister was quoting from. Police officers, I believe, swear allegiance to Her Majesty, yet they arrest somebody for quoting from the writings of her Church. That’s damn close to Treason, isn’t it? I think Her Majesty should be invited to give her views.

    • The Church and the Queen are both subject to the laws of the land made by the parliament, not constitutionally superior to them, and that has been the formal case since at the latest the Glorious Coup D’Etat in 1688.

  2. So that’s it then;we’ve arrived at some Orwellian freak-show. Ask whatever you like. If you don’t like the answer you can have luckless soul sent to prison. At one time, kissing and acting out sexual moves in public would have been the public order offence. The man should not have even been arrested.

  3. Have you seen what they’ve got planned for us next?

    “The new offence would make it a crime to do anything that deliberately harmed a child’s “physical intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development”.

    Well, that covers pretty much any parenting decision that might be made then, if a social worker disagrees. Including, for instance, many Christian moral strictures.

  4. This case is an outrage – a total outrage.

    And, yes, it does seem to be the way Britain is going.

  5. I used to wish my children were still young,that I’d had them when I was much older.Not any more. I don’t suppose it will be long before we get the English version of the Scottish state appointed Children’s Guardian and the Welsh opt-out for organ donation. We truly are owned by the state It’s like a big pincer movement,one angle for the mind,the other for the body. It’s slow moving and very quiet. But it’s deadly.

  6. UKIP-here’s your chance to show you’re different!

  7. Here’s what the wonderful Fabians think of Mr Farage V Clegg.

    I did start composing a response to the article ( which I think should be given to our Secretary of War Mr Davis) but I can only take being angry for a short time before I need to lie down. As the Author relies on Mr Hobsbawm I am very, very tired.

  8. Thinking about it a bit more, the Fabian site, and others like it is where the good posters on here ought to be taking the fight. Take them on, Ian B et al, demolish their arguments.

  9. One more- Here’s our freedom loving Ms Alibai-Brown on what should be done to counter the growing popularity of Farage. Listen and weep.

    I really have to go to bed now.

  10. Mrs Brown has always been a supporter of tyranny.

  11. The GrsamcoFabiaNazis actually one time did turn off Sean Gabb’s mike while he was interrogating Mrs-Brown’s-Alibi on the sound-wireless.

  12. Yes I remember that David. Mrs Brown was engaged in an insane rant about how white people (such as her own husband?) would go around exterminating black and brown people, if it were not for the special (post 1965) race laws and race propaganda of the state. Dr Gabb was simply trying to make sure that Mrs Brown actually meant what she was saying – by getting her to repeat it.