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Court win for 73-year-old street preacher pinned down by 6 police officers

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Issued on behalf of Christian Legal Centre

Press Release

For Immediate Release

12th February 2014

Court win for 73-year-old street preacher pinned down by 6 police officers

A former teacher, who was ordered by a female PC to stop preaching outside Banbury Magistrates Court House, has had the charges of assault and breach of the peace against him dismissed by Oxford Magistrates Court.

The officer approached Bill Edwards, aged 73, when he was preaching outside the Courthouse, and asked him to move on as some people inside the building found his preaching “offensive”. However, he refused after which the PC told him that he would be arrested.  Bill followed her into the police station a short distance away, where he was grabbed by 6 officers and taken to the ground and arrested. 

Yesterday (11th February) the District Judge at Oxford Magistrates Court told Bill that he had no case to answer, and expressed doubt that the officer had acted in the execution of her duty.

An application for a restraint order to prevent Bill from preaching outside Banbury Court House was refused, and he was given an order for costs to cover his travel expenses. 

Bill was supported throughout the case by the Christian Legal Centre, and was represented in court by allied solicitor to the CLC, Michael Phillips.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “It is alarming that an elderly individual could be treated by authorities in this way simply for preaching in public. 

“This is one of many instances where we have seen the police use heavy-handed tactics against lawful street preaching.  It raises serious questions about their understanding of the way in which the law should be interpreted and applied in this area, and is indicative of the growing trend to remove Christian preachers off the streets.”

ENDS.

For further Information/interview:
Andrea Minichiello Williams:  07712 591 164
Garry Selfridge:    07545 696 207

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