Australian pastors win retrial in vilification case.

By December 15, 2006

Australia (MNN)–Two Christian pastors, Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot of Catch the Fire Ministries won their appeal and hailed the decision as a victory for free speech.

Although convicted of having vilified Muslims under Victoria’s religious hatred law, the Court of Appeal ordered the case to be reheard before a different judge.

The court also suspended orders for public apologies and for the pastors not to repeat their remarks. The pastors were convicted of vilifying Muslims at a seminar on jihad in Melbourne in March 2002, in a newsletter and a website article.

The church argued that the Islamic council should have had to prove that people were actually incited to hatred, rather than show the comments were likely to incite hatred.

In the end, their arguments shifted the burden of proof to the council and called into question the interpretation of the law. It’s good news for the pastors, however, the judges rejected the appeal that the Racial and Religious Vilification Act was unconstitutional.

On a side note, the Court of Appeals also ordered the accusor, the Islamic Council of Victoria to pay half the appeal costs but left the costs of the original hearing to be decided by the judge who re-hears the case.

Continue to pray for the team as they continue their evangelistic work.

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