Tory councillor arrested for ‘hate crime’ after supporting Christian free speech sees case dropped

Dec 10, 2023 by

from Premier:

A Conservative councillor who was accused of an alleged hate crime for supporting Christian free speech has had its case dropped by police.

Earlier this year, Councillor Anthony Stevens faced legal repercussions when he was arrested at his residence after posting a series of tweets that criticised various cases involving Christians expressing their viewpoints.

The incidents included his support for fellow councillor King Lawal, who had been suspended for sharing his perspectives on LGBT issues and retweeting a video that criticised the police’s handling of a situation involving a Christian street preacher.

The 50-year-old said he was subsequently taken to Kettering police station and interrogated about his posts on the social media platform. According to Stevens, police officers told him he had been arrested for “inciting racial hatred” as Britain First, a far-right political party, had shared the original video post he had retweeted. He was then granted bail.

Now, police have dropped the case and communicated it to Stevens by email. Northamptonshire Police wrote: “I write to inform you that Mr Anthony STEVENS has been informed this evening of the Crown Prosecutions decision that there will be No Further Action in relation to his involved case.”

Responding to the news, Cllr Stephens, said: “Yes, I have been vindicated and I am relieved that no further action will be taken, but look what I have been put through. My reputation, business, health and even my relationships, have been seriously affected by this abuse of police power.

“There will always be a note on my police file saying that I was investigated for a ‘hate crime’ – that is wrong,” he said.

“In a true democratic society, you cannot have people being arrested for a few tweets. We must have debate; we must have the freedom to criticise and offend each other; otherwise this country is heading towards a very dark place.”

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