Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Amen! Preachers Go Free; Police Drop Charges against Trio for Refusing to Move On

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Amen! Preachers Go Free; Police Drop Charges against Trio for Refusing to Move On

Article excerpt

Byline: Richard Bruinsma

GOT something you'd like to say publicly?

Well, you can thank three determined street preachers for fighting for your right to say it.

The preachers were spreading the Christian message in central Nambour last September when they were charged for ignoring police "move on" directives.

They were geared up to fight the matter in court on Friday, but police have told the trio the charges would be dropped.

"We're very, very happy and relieved because it was a big stress upon us," one of the group, Ryan Hemelaar, said.

Mr Hemelaar, 24, Kevin Red, 46, and Justin Kelly, 39, believed they had a right to speak publicly under the Peaceful Assembly Act 1993, but were subsequently charged for twice ignoring the police request.

Mr Hemelaar believed the Act allowed for peaceful preaching provided the authorities were advised beforehand, which the trio had done.

"If you give the police and council at least five days' notice for a peaceful assembly, if the police or council don't get back to you, it's basically an authorised public assembly," he said. …

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