R. v. Lynn
On June 4, 2019, street preacher and Pastor David Lynn was arrested and charged for preaching the Gospel in Gay Village, Toronto. Pastor Lynn has preached on the streets for over 22 years in the GTA.
That day, Pastor Lynn and his associates were on their third day of what they termed their “Toronto Tour” in which they planned to go into all of the 22 districts of Toronto to preach the Gospel. On the fourth stop of the day, Pastor Lynn attended at the corner of Church and Wellesley to share his message, and when he and his associates looked up from praying, there was a mob with signs gathered there to protest.
Pastor Lynn’s message that day, like any other, revolved around John 3:16, adding this plea to the mob, “ Everyone is entitled to respect and dignity, everyone, the LGBT community, that should be publicized. The Christian community deserves respect as well… If love is love, will your love accept me? If your love is true and you believe everyone is entitled to dignity, then my question for you today is will it accept Christians?”
Some of the protesters yelled profanities, even calling his female associates “whores.” While this occurred, Pastor Lynn did not lose his composure, but continued to preach, telling the mob that Jesus loves them, urging them to tolerate and accept Christians in like manner.
While Pastor Lynn was preaching, police arrived on the scene, demanding that Pastor Lynn turn off his microphone. When Pastor Lynn did so and told the officer he was returning to his preaching, police said that they would charge him with causing a disturbance if he returned to preach. Pastor lynn told the officer that he had a Charter right to share his message and that the officer had a responsibility to protect him. Nonetheless, Pastor Lynn was arrested, handcuffed, and charged with causing a disturbance.
Some time later, a second count of mischief was added to the charge.
In defending Pastor Lynn, Legacy Constitutional Law, formerly Crosson Constitutional Law, filed a Charter Notice and factum, arguing that the charges against Pastor Lynn were an attempt to criminalize the legitimate exercise of Charter rights, saying that, “When the state criminalizes the exercise of these rights, it affects us all: the criminalization of the rights of one is a threat to the rights of all.”
In May of 2020, the Crown withdrew the charges against Pastor Lynn on the basis of no reasonable chance of success.
The raw unedited footage of the arrest of Pastor Lynn can be found at the following: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS6AlYBnnlM.