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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 June, 2005, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Preacher cleared over harassment
Philip Howard
Mr Howard is a well-known figure on Oxford Street
A street preacher accused of harassing a passer-by by shouting "You are going to burn in hell" has been cleared.

Philip Howard, 51, denied shouting abuse through a megaphone on Oxford Street, London, last September .

Magistrates heard he launched a "diatribe of abuse" at Stanislaw Was. They said he "probably" made the remarks but could not be certain.

Outside court, Mr Howard said: "This proves once and for all that Satan won't win."

'Saggy' sinner

Horseferry Road magistrates were told the trouble started when Mr Was asked Mr Howard to turn his loud speaker volume down.

The court heard Mr Howard then leaned towards Mr Was and shouted: "Your hair's going grey, your skin's sagging and that's because you're a sinner. You are going to burn in hell."

Mr Howard, from Paddington, west London, said he had only made general statements and expressed the view that sinners who did not repent would go to hell.

District Judge Mike Snow dismissed the public order charge of causing harassment, alarm or distress, saying the prosecution had not reached the standard where he was satisfied that the comments had been made.

"In that circumstance, Mr Howard must be given the benefit of the doubt," he added.

Mr Howard is well known for his hellfire and brimstone preaching on Oxford Street, and often tells passers-by: "Don't be a sinner, be a winner."

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