We had about 16 people on the team tonight – maybe the largest it has ever been. It is great to see how the Lord has been raising up new labours all the time to share his Word.
Ryan Francis started the preaching for the evening and did a great job proclaiming the Biblical message about our sin, the coming judgement, and the greatness of the Saviour. After about 20 minutes of preaching he tagged Joshua Corneloup in. Joshua has a very loud voice, which enabled more people to hear the message.
After about fifteen minutes, the council local law compliance officers that were on duty for the evening came up to Joshua and asked him for his ID. Joshua explained that he didn’t have any on him. But the council did not seem to believe him and so they said they were going to get the police.
Once the police arrived (two officers), they came up to Joshua and said, “Can I see some ID on you? Mate pull it out.” At this Joshua honestly responds that he doesn’t have any on him. He said the council will be giving Joshua a ticket. Joshua repeats that he doesn’t have ID on him. The Senior Constable then said that he will be coming to the police station.
The Senior Constable then started grabbing Joshua with both his hands, and then attempted to steal the camera off him. At this Joshua says, “No, you are not having my camera mate.” Both police officers then grabbed Joshua, and so Joshua then gave the camera he was holding to me and I gave it then on to Jeremy. One of the police officers then pulls hand cuffs from his back pocket and looked like he was going to put them on Joshua, but he ended up not doing that.
The police asked for Joshua’s name and he gave it immediately. The Senior Constable then said, “You’re coming to the station with me.” Joshua asks if he is forced to come. The Senior Constable responds, “You are under arrest.” Joshua asks, “Am I under arrest?” The Senior Constable says again, “You are under arrest.”
At this point both police officers manhandled Joshua down Cavill Ave then onto Orchid Ave. Once on Orchid Ave, Joshua says, “You’re hurting my arm.” The Senior Constable did not respond and so Joshua repeats what he said. Then he said, “That’s hurting my arm.” The Senior Constable said, “Walk!”
Joshua said that he didn’t want to be forced to walk. The Senior Constable then hit Joshua’s arm very firmly and shouted at him, “Stop resisting! Stop resisting or you will be thrown in the watch house.” The police officers then put him a against a wall, the badgeless officer then let go of him but the Senior Constable still had Joshua’s arm twisted behind his back. The way the officer forced his arm to go did seem very painful.
The badgeless police officer pulled to the side, indicating to the Senior Constable that he wanted to speak to him. But the Senior Constable did not move, saying something about the fact that we were filming. So the badgeless police officer walked over to the Senior Constable and whispered something to him. And then I heard him say to the Senior Constable, “Just come over here.”
The Senior Constable responded by saying, “No he’s fine. We’ll take him back to the station.” The other officer said, “You sure?” The Senior Constable responded, “Yep, I am happy with that.” The other officer said, “Ok, if you’re happy.” They then proceeded to manhandle him again towards the police station. At this point, Joshua instructs Jeremy and I to leave now. The Senior Constable then points to Jeremy and shouts, “Oi, you there! Come here! Come here!” and starts moving fast towards Jeremy.
The police officer then grabs Jeremy’s arm and says, “Give me the camera. If he wants to sue me, he can use that camera as evidence!” Jeremy tried giving me the camera, however at that point the police officer then starts very forcibly grabbing his other arm and then proceeded to snatch the camera out of Jeremy’s hand. The Senior Constable then gave Jeremy a very forceful shove on his chest.
At this point, I feared for my own safety. If a police officer used that much force to get the video camera off Jeremy, I thought I was next, because I was still filming with my camera at this point in time. I didn’t want the footage on my camera to be erased as well.
The Senior Constable then tried to temper with the camera, most likely in order to delete it. He then proceeded to talk with Jeremy for the next ten minutes, while the other officer held Joshua’s arms. As the minutes went on, more police officers arrived so that there were now six officers around Joshua. After about ten minutes of waiting around there, two undercover police officers then manhandled Joshua to the police station.
In the end, Joshua was released without charge and was fined $375 by the council for preaching. We had a chat to the local law compliance officers after all this and they insisted that preaching is forbidden on all of the Gold Coast council’s land. It says nowhere in their such a thing, it just seems to be these particular council workers that really do not like the gospel.
After this, I started preaching back on Cavill Ave and the council officers just walked past and did nothing. After walking past a few times, they commented to Trevor that they won’t fine me because I already have a fine that is still to go to court. I don’t think that’s the real reason. The real reason is because they know that to preach the gospel on public land is to not break any of their own local laws.
With all the hassles, the gospel was still preached and many people received gospel tracts. So to God be the glory!