Dargusch v Hemelaar - Street Evangelism Case

Case Type: Freedom of Speech (Street Evangelism) 

Status: On Appeal to the Supreme Court of Queensland 

Ryan Hemelaar has been a street evangelist for several years now, believing that God has called him to publicly tell people about the Christian gospel.

That is why Ryan is a part of Operation 513 Ministries who do street evangelism in several Australian cities. They preach regularly in such places as Cavill Mall on the Gold Coast and the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane’s CBD. They follow the requirements set out in the Peaceful Assembles Act 1992 (Qld) to gain legal authorisation for their activities.

Ryan and his colleagues have always been mindful of following the law and of conducting themselves well in their work. They have good relationships with local police.

Despite this, Ryan and some others from Operation 513 were challenged by council officers repeatedly over a period of time in 2015 in the Queen Street Mall for their activities. The concerns came to a head with one officer issuing Ryan a large number of fines. Ryan continued to preach, believing that his effort to follow the law meant the fines would not be valid.

Ryan relied on his authorisation under Queensland law to challenge the fines, but the District Court of Queensland disagreed.

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