Breaking news: judge says Vogelenzangs not guilty

Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang have been found entirely innocent of a religiously aggravated public order offence after a District Judge dismissed the case.

The Vogelenzangs had been charged with the crime after criticising Islam during a debate with a guest at the hotel they run in Liverpool.

The decision by judge Richard Clancy at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court means that the Vogelenzangs have now been cleared of all charges.

The Christian Institute is now asking why the prosecution was ever brought.

The couple faced a maximum fine of £5,000 if they were found guilty.

Christians gathered outside the court at the beginning of the trial singing hymns and holding free speech placards.

On Monday hundreds of Christians met to pray about the case, concerned about its implications for free speech and religious liberty.

The couple were arrested and charged in July under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 and Section 31(1)(c) and (5) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

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