US preacher may sue police over homophobia claims

AN AMERICAN evangelist who was accused of making homophobic remarks in a Scottish city had his case dropped by the Crown yesterday.

Anthony Miano has threatened to sue police after being cleared of hate speech in Dundee city centre. Picture: Police Scotland
Anthony Miano has threatened to sue police after being cleared of hate speech in Dundee city centre. Picture: Police Scotland

Anthony Miano, 50, a former Los Angeles deputy sheriff, then announced he would be suing Police Scotland over the confiscation of his video equipment before backing out of his legal threat last night.

The American, who has previously lived in Perth, was arrested in Dundee last January while preaching to crowds in the centre of the city.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

A lawyer acting for Mr Miano revealed the charges against the American, which were due to be heard yesterday at Dundee Sheriff Court, would not be called.

The Crown’s decision effectively meant the case has been dropped by the Scottish courts, although the Crown could in theory re-raise proceedings at a later date.

However, spokesman for the Crown Office said yesterday: “The Crown can confirm there will be no further proceedings against Mr Miano.”

When he first appeared in court, Mr Miano pleaded not guilty to the charge which alleged that on 8 January, at Murraygate in Dundee, he had behaved in a threatening or abusive manner likely to cause fear and alarm and repeatedly shouted and uttered homophobic remarks and that the offence was aggravated by prejudices relating to sexual orientation.

However, he later lodged a plea to the relevancy of the charge, stating that no complainer was named in it.

Mr Miano, who has his own website, “Cross Encounters”, was part of a street preaching team holding a one-week mission in Scotland. Mr Miano had been alleged to have preached about the various sins Jesus saves us from to lunchtime shoppers on the city’s high street. After receiving a complaint from a woman who said her son is gay, two police officers arrested him, according to reports.

Celebrating the news of his case being dropped at home in California, yesterday, Mr Miano wrote on his website: “Supervising prosecutors finally viewed the video footage off my camera and determined that the victim/witness in my case made allegations about my speech that were simply untrue.

“The prosecutors found nothing in my preaching that constituted ‘hate speech’ and came to the conclusion they had no case against me now.”

He went on to say, though, he was considering suing Police Scotland for “redress” after video equipment was confiscated by officers and he was held in custody after his arrest,

However, last night, he announced he was withdrawing this threat, “after prayer and seeking the counsel of my pastors”.