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Taunton Man Found Guilty Of Homophobic Street Preaching

A street preacher who condemned a gay man as ‘a sinner’ has been found guilty of Homophobic preaching when he appeared in front of Bristol Crown Court.

As previously reported in June last year, Avon & Somerset Police had received complaints regarding the behaviour of Michael Overd during his preaching sessions in the town’s High Street.

Overd, was convicted of breaching a public order offence for using threatening or abusive words at Bristol Crown Court. He was cleared of a second similar offence and a third charge of causing racially aggravated harassment.

During the trial, the court heard how Overd had quoted a verse from Leviticus at a gay Christian during one of his sermons, which says that homosexuality is an abomination.

Overd, from Taunton, was also ordered to pay £930 costs and a £20 victim surcharge over the incident in June last year.

Judge Queshi told him: “All people exercise their right of speech and religion and this country’s laws protect their rights to do so. On the other hand, Mr Overd asks me to interpret the law to endorse his desire to shout, bully, and berate members of the public until they convert to his branch of Christianity.

“Ironically, those who complained about him at court were Christians. I cannot interpret the law in the way Mr Overd and his legal team ask. Such a decision would not be the upholding of equal human rights and would be seized upon by fundamentalists and extremists to be the first step to public disorder.”