London

London's street preachers make brief court appearance

Two London men who face charges for their aggressive street preaching made a brief court appearance Monday morning on charges of violating the city's public nuisance bylaw.

Matthew Carapella and Steven Ravbar leave court without speaking to reporters

Matthew Carapella, left, and Steven Ravbar made a brief court appearance Monday and left without speaking to reporters. The men, known for preaching on London streets, are charged with violating the city's public nuisance bylaw. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

Two London men known for preaching on London streets made a brief court appearance Monday morning on charges of violating the city's public nuisance bylaw. 

Steven Ravbar, 50, and Matthew Carapella, 32, appeared in provincial offences court and had a pre-trial hearing set for May 30. 

After their brief appearance, the men left the Dundas Street courthouse shortly after 9 a.m. and declined to speak with CBC News. 

The charges stem from complaints about their behaviour filed with the city's bylaw enforcement office. 

The city amended its public nuisance bylaw last summer to include "abusive or insulting" language that threatens a person's enjoyment of public spaces. 

There have been complaints about the men — particularly from women — who say they are often called out as they walk past Carapella and Ravbar for their choice of clothing or hairstyle. The men are followers of a dead U.S. preacher named William Branham, who believed women and men should adhere to traditional roles.

The men also face charges of criminal mischief, which stem from an incident earlier this month in which police say two men disturbed a Sunday service at a south London church.

They are due in court for those charges on May 27.

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