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Christians Together

Case against street preacher thrown out

In a failed court action raised against evangelist Kenny Macdonald it became apparent that there was no evidence to support complaints made against the Inverness-based preacher who insists that his message of God's love will never change.

 


 
But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,  for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.                        Matthew 10:19-20


 Kenny Macdonald (left) in Inverness High Street
Kenny Macdonald4IT surely must be highly unusual for a complainant in a court case to provide a glowing character reference for the accused person in the dock, but this is what happened yesterday in Inverness Sheriff Court when local street preacher Kenny Macdonald stood charged with causing upset and alarm with his ‘direct’ message.

In the event, the case against the evangelist that he had behaved in a threatening and abusive manner was thrown out by Sheriff Ian Abercrombie.

During the courtroom proceedings and speaking from the witness box, Street trader Kim Avis (48) testified that he "liked Kenny" and respected his integrity and right to preach, albeit suggesting that the latter should maybe soften his style.

As last Friday's (03/02/11) case proceeded, it was quickly apparent that Croy falconer Thomas Horne (63) – the other principal witnesses for the Crown – had no corroborating evidence to support his allegations against Macdonald.

Horne had claimed and yesterday testifed that the preacher had upset a Roman Catholic mother and her children. However Macdonald's solicitor, Inverness-based Marc Dickson, in defending his client had very little difficulty in undermining Horne's credibility as a witness.

The 'Amplified' version..

Meanwhile Avis, a local stall-holder and the other main witness, spoke of how he liked and respected the evangelist as a person; and that he should be free to preach what he believes. Avis told the court: “Kenny means well and tries to bring people to religion but he is quite loud and people can be offended by his preaching. He is a devout and passionate man, but some of the things he says are hard on people”.
Avis said that he found it difficult to speak to his customers because of Macdonald’s preaching. However, what did not come out in court is that the local trader operates his business selling small items of jewellery in the same spot as a busker who uses amplification for his singing, guitar and drums.
In fact though it is perfectly legal to use amplification, for most of the time Macdonald doesn’t do this; and on many occasions his 'preaching' is merely sings hymns as he walks along the street.

In giving his account in court concerning Macdonald’s street work, Avis continued: “I hope he continues what he is doing but not scare them saying they will go to Hell if they don’t believe.”
In the event, as the case unfolded, it became apparent that there was no substantiated case to answer. In this context, the case and the background to it, which never came out in court, raises a series of important questions that remain to be answered.

Prior to coming to Inverness in August 2010 Macdonald had spent time conducting his ministry of street preaching in Glasgow, Blackpool, Southport and Liverpool. Over a period of over 30 years he has had no previous complaints made against him. Needless to say the legal process which ran for almost a year, placed the evangelist under considerable strain.

Strong support from across the churches

However, before, during and immediately after the court proceedings Macdonald was much encouraged by the support of a number of Christians coming from a cross section of local churches. Those present in the courthouse on the public benches included Revs. Tom Urquhart and David Williams – the pastors at Inverness Baptist Church and Inverness Christian Fellowship respectively.
Dr. Donald Boyd who heads up the Scottish Christian Party was also part of the grouping.

Speaking to Christians Together after the verdict, the Kilwinning-born evangelist said: “By the grace of God, from the day I was converted God put in my heart to tell people that Jesus loved them and died for them. That has been my motivation and my heart’s desire since then. ” However, for ‘Kenny the Christian’, he remains committed to preaching the unchanging Gospel insisting: “My message will remain the same.”

In the video below – taken around the time of the original complaints last Spring – Kenny can be seen handing out Gospel literature during the Easter ‘Silent Witness’ in April 2011. Included in the video are opening shots of the most familiar street busker, the falconer Thomas Horne and Kim Avis’s street stall – all located around that intersection on the High Street.

 
 Christian witness in Inverness: Easter 2011 
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Kenny Macdonald3

 


 
Footnotes:
Just a year before the complaint was raised against Kenny Macdonald an American street preacher was arrested and detained in jail. In the event Shawn Holes pled guilty in order to be freed and return to his family in America but legal opinion, given in retrospect, suggests that the charges would not have stuck.
An interview with one of Hole's colleagues reveals some very disturbing behaviour by the the police in Glasgow.
 Interview with colleague of Shawn Holes 
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The incidents of street preachers being harassed would seem to be on the increase and some other cases have been documented and recorded by the Christian Institute.

 

Christians Together, 04/02/2012


Article printed from www.christianstogether.net at 09:52 on 23 October 2019