Incitement charges for pastor

Pastor Paul Furlong, seen at his Lots of Fins Aquarium after his arrest.

By Danielle Kutchel

A Narre Warren pastor has been arrested after breaching the Chief Health Officer’s directions with a church gathering.

Police confirmed they arrested Pastor Paul Furlong following a protest involving approximately 70-100 people in Narre Warren on Thursday 18 February.

The 54-year-old from Tyabb was charged with incitement and breaching the Chief Health Officer’s directions and bailed to appear at court at a later date.

The arrest came after the reopening of Revival Church in Narre Warren for a service on Sunday 14 February, despite lockdown orders restricting church services.

Victoria Police attended the religious gathering and visitors dispersed soon after.

Pr Furlong received a fine for breaching the directions of the Chief Health Officer as well as a second fine, the details of which he would not disclose at the time.

On Friday 19 February Pr Furlong was seen at his business at 96 Victor Crescent by Star News, however no customers were allowed in.

On Wednesday 18 February, Pr Furlong said his business was subject to a prohibition notice. The following day, a demonstration was held outside the business to protest its shutting.

Speaking to Star News Group, Pr Furlong clarified that he had been charged with three charges of incitement: one for asking worshippers to attend his church, one for asking people to demonstrate outside the business, and the third for attending the demonstration.

He said he had had a constructive meeting with representatives of Victoria Police and the Department of Health on Friday 19 February, with hopes of removing the prohibition notice and reopening for retail trade “imminently”.