A Belfast evangelist facing hate speech charges against Muslims was acquitted after a judge ruled that his sermon was not sufficiently offensive on Tuesday.
Seventy eight year old, Pastor James McConnell, walked free from the Belfast Magistrates Court alongside a crowd of Christian supporters cheering the courts ruling.
In May 2014, McConnell was accused of spreading grossly offensive messages after his church put out a sermon denouncing Muslims.
District Judge Liam McNally said that courts must be “careful not to criminalize speech which, however contemptible, is no more than offensive. It is not the task of criminal law to censor offensive utterances”.
McConnell outside the courtroom said that he did not intend to offend Muslims when describing their faith as satanic or calling Muslims terrorists. He said, “I wouldn’t hurt a hair on their head”.