A SHOP owner charged with religious prejudice after selling an obscene T-shirt will not face trial.
Daniel Moore, 45, sold the T-shirt - which features the slogan "Jesus is a c***" and a pornographic picture of a nun - to an undercover policeman.
Minutes later a team of ten police officers raided his Edinburgh shop and he was charged with selling obscene material aggravated by religious prejudice.
Moore insisted on his innocence during several appearances at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, and the Crown has now decided the case can be dealt with through an alternative to prosecution.
The owner of Electic Cabaret in Forrest Road was adamant he had only ordered the T-shirt - merchandise from a heavy metal band called Cradle of Filth - after a number of his teenage customers requested it.
He insisted that he warned people of the dangers of wearing the top. Speaking from his shop yesterday, he said: "I don't think it should ever have gone as far as it did. I knew I was innocent all along - this has been a waste of money."
He added: "The T-shirt is band merchandise and my customers chose to order it. I told the guy that bought it that he shouldn't wear it on the street."
Moore claimed the charge was unfair because he did not stock the T-shirt, or display it in his store.
An alternative to prosecution can take the form of a written or personal warning or a "fiscal fine" of up to 100. Once this happens, the accused cannot be prosecuted for the offence and will not have a criminal record.
Moore's solicitor, Victoria Good, condemned the suggestion that religious aggravation was the motive behind the sale of the T-shirt.
She said: "The initial suggestion that the offence was aggravated by religious prejudice is clearly unfounded - this was nothing more than a business transaction.
"The T-shirt is unpleasant, but surely there is an issue of freedom of speech involved here."
The shopkeeper is well-known locally for his eccentric clothes. He has a keen interest in pirates and dresses similarly to the character Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp in the Hollywood film Pirates of the Caribbean.
Moore is now planning to leave Edinburgh and sail with a crew to Portugal.
Cradle of Filth, an Ipswich-based band, have sparked debate over their controversial slogan T-shirts.
Nicholas Barker, their former drummer, was arrested in Dover in May 2005 and charged with "creating a public disorder" for wearing the garment. There were no further proceedings against him.
In 2004, Dale Wilson was arrested in Norwich after he was spotted wearing the T-shirt as he walked to his local shop.
He walked away from court without a conviction, but magistrates told him to "grow up".
In 2005, Adam Shepherd, 19, was fined 40 and sentenced to 80 hours community service after a member of the public complained to police over the T-shirt.
In 2001 the then Lord Provost of Glasgow, Alex Mosson, campaigned to stop the T-shirt from being sold at Tower Records. The record shop was raided on two occasions by police, and eventually agreed to stop stocking the garment.
The band's singer, Dani Filth, has said of the T-shirt: "It was going against the usual mediocre statement of 'Jesus Loves You'. I mean, what does it mean?"