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Crime

Christian preacher who told gay couple to ‘burn in hell’ avoids hate crime conviction

Meka Beresford June 29, 2017
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A Christian preacher who repeatedly verbally abused a gay couple has avoided a hate crime conviction.

Phillip Mattis has been sentenced to 120 hours of community service and ordered to pay £300 in compensation to a couple who he verbally abused on a number of occasions.

Phillip Mattis was filmed verbally abusing a gay couple outside of their home (Photo Troy Appleby-Walker)
Phillip Mattis was filmed verbally abusing a gay couple outside of their home (Photo Troy Appleby-Walker)

He will also have to pay a £80 victim surcharge and £320 of Crown Prosecution Service costs after he was sentenced for two public order offences at Bristol Magistrates Court.

The preacher was convicted after he verbally abused Troy Appleby-Walker and his husband.

Appleby-Walker told the Bristol Post how the abuse began after Mattis subjected him and his partner to a homophobic rant before following them onto a bus where the abuse continued.

Appleby-Walker explained: “Some of the things he said to us were disgusting.

“He told us we’d burn in hell. If that isn’t a verbal homophobic attack I don’t know what is.”

The victim shared a video online where Mattis can be seen standing outside of the couple’s house preaching that homosexuality is “wrong”.

Mattis shouts in the video: “Same-sex relationships are wrong. Bestiality is wrong.

“Homosexuality is wrong. Sexual immorality is wrong. Bestiality is wrong.

“Come to the cross before it’s too late. Jesus loves you but he doesn’t love your sin.”

It is believed that the preacher took aim at the couple because they were flying a Pride flag outside of their home.

Appleby-Walker explained that he was disappointed Mattis had not been charged with a hate crime but relieved that they had some justice and believes that the sentence is “appropriate”.

He said: “I’m happy that something’s been done about it. I feel that justice has been served. Far too many hate crimes go unpunished.

“But I do think it should have been charged as a hate crime.

“I am disappointed that we appear to have lost the more significant uplift to this being categorised as a hate crime.”

He added that he felt the sentence does not reflect the severity of the action.

“I am not sure that it sends the right message that the law won’t tolerate hate speech and hateful language being used in the manner in which it was in this instance.

“A public order offence doesn’t quite fit with the vile language used to denigrate and impugn my sexuality and that of a large section of society.”

Related topics: Christian, conviction, Hate crime, LGBT, preacher, Religion

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