Inverness evangelist cleared of making offensive remarks
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A well-known evangelist was cleared of behaving in an abusive manner as he tried to spread the gospel in Inverness city centre.
Kenneth Macdonald (65), of Lochiel Road, was accused of making offensive remarks to stallholders and passers by and warning them that they would "burn in hell" if they did not turn to God.
But Sheriff Ian Abercrombie upheld a plea by Macdonald’s solicitor Marc Dickson that his client had no case to answer and acquitted Macdonald.
Falconer Tommy Horne (63), who has a stall with birds of prey from his rescue centre at Croy, told the court on 17th March last year he saw a young woman with two young children, aged about three and four, being approached by Macdonald who was passing out leaflets and preaching through a microphone and PA system.
"She said she was a Catholic and said ‘no thanks’," he said. "He told her she would go to hell and he told the children the same."
Mr Horne told Macdonald it was wrong to say things like that to people.
During cross examination by Marc Dickson, Mr Horne acknowledged he had previous convictions for dishonesty and served prison sentences but said these were when a long time ago.
He insisted he told the police that Macdonald had said to the woman she was "going to hell".
The solicitor suggested Mr Horne was the subject of a complaint to the police the same day for his behaviour towards Macdonald. But Mr Horne claimed he only went up to tell him he was not happy about the way he had spoken to the woman and he definitely told police about it.
Kim Avis ((47) who runs a jewellery stall in the High Street said ‘Kenny’ was a ‘well meaning’ man preaching to bring religion into people’s lives.
"It’s very loud a lot of the time and some people can be offended," Mr Avis said.
PC Claire Hughes (20) said on 8th January 2011, she and a colleague went to speak to Macdonald following complaints from the public about his preaching. Her colleague had a word with him and that was the end of the matter.
Mr Dickson made a plea that his client had no case to answer. Sheriff Abercrombie agreed and formally acquitted Macdonald who had nearly a dozen supporters in the court.
Macdonald had denied behaving in a threatening or abusive manner in High Street between 8th January and 26th March on several occasions uttering offensive remarks, approaching stallholders and passers-by that they burn in hell to their annoyance and alarm.