Mid and East Antrim TUV Councillor Ruth Wilson says she is “delighted” that Pastor James McConnell has been found not guilty of making grossly offensive remarks about Islam.
The 78-year-old evangelical preacher denied two charges relating to a sermon he delivered at his church, Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle, on May 18 2014 and which was streamed online.
District Judge Liam McNally said that it was “not the task of the criminal law to censor offensive utterances.”
Cllr Wilson, who is a member of Pastor McConnell’s congregation, was in court to hear the verdict.
“I am delighted that justice has been done and an important victory has been won for freedom of speech and religion,” she said.
“Pastor McConnell deserves enormous credit for the manner in which he has faced the events of the last two years.
“Having sat under Pastor McConnell’s ministry for a number of years I can testify first-hand to his love for truth and compassion for people from all backgrounds.
“I attended much of this trial and heard the evidence so it is no surprise to me that the Pastor has been acquitted.
“It is a disgrace that a gentleman in his eight decade was hauled before the courts in this fashion.
“Had the verdict gone the other way there would have been profound ramifications for freedom of speech and religion,” she concluded.