A religious activist from Corby who dresses as a monk has been given a Criminal Behaviour Order preventing him from distributing leaflets about religious, sexual or reproductive topics.
Damon Jonah Kelly has been distributing leaflets dressed in a monk’s robe in a variety of different locations including the East Midlands, Brighton, Cambridgeshire and the West Midlands since 2012.
The leaflets expressed his views denouncing a number of groups and communities, including faiths different to his own, divorcees and people using assisted childbirth, but principally targeting the gay community.
Many people who read his leaflets were upset and offended by them, and reported his activities to the police.
The leaflets were described by witnesses as ‘vile’, ‘offensive’ and ‘upsetting’.
In October 2014 Kelly, who gave his address in court as a church in Corby, delivered a leaflet expressing his views about homosexuality to the home of a same-sex couple, who remonstrated with him about the leaflet and its content.
He returned to the address two weeks later with a letter addressed to them, again expressing his views.
He was arrested and charged with harassment without violence for targeting this couple.
He pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates Court in June.
He was today sentenced to a 12-month community order, requiring him to do 170 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.
The unpaid work was increased from 140 hours because his offending was homophobically aggravated and therefore treated as a hate crime.
The court also imposed a Criminal Behaviour Order, allowing Kelly to hold and express his views, but not so as to invade the privacy of others.
Specifically, the order, which is in force for the next five years, prohibits him from:
Distributing unsolicited material about religious, sexual or reproductive topics to any residential, commercial or academic address in England and Wales and;
Calling at any residential premises in England and Wales, whether by doorbell, knocking or any other means, for the purpose of distributing such material, without prior permission of the occupier.
Senior district crown prosecutor at CPS East Midlands Lisa Morris said: “Damon Kelly has caused offence when distributing his leaflets.
“The right of free speech is extremely important in our society, but when this crosses the line into harassment, it is important that the public is protected.
“This Criminal Behaviour Order is necessary to balance Damon Kelly’s right to free speech with the need to protect the public from such further conduct.
“It is important that communities are aware that he has been banned by the courts from these activities.
“Anyone who thinks they have seen Damon Kelly breaching this Criminal Behaviour Order should contact their local police force and report it.”