Preacher Wins Case during Covid Lockdown

“London magistrates have thrown out a case against a Christian preacher, who was fined and prosecuted by the Metropolitan police for evangelizing on Good Friday, 2020. Joshua Sutcliffe, 31, along with one socially distanced friend, were preaching and handing out leaflets in Camden, North London, on 10 April 2020 when they were stopped by the police. Detained and surrounded by four police officers, Mr. Sutcliffe was told that he was outdoors without a reasonable excuse and acting contrary to government lockdown Covid regulations. Despite Mr. Sutcliffe informing the officers that he was a pastor and worship leader and was therefore allowed to be outdoors providing charitable services, he was cautioned and received a fixed penalty notice of £60. Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Mr. Sutcliffe contested the fine at the City of London Magistrates Court on 6 July 2021. Mr. Sutcliffe told the court on the way home that he handed his shoes to a homeless man, which clearly he could not have done if he had just been preaching online. Handing down judgment, the Magistrate said: ‘We find the defendant not guilty on all charges.  We find that the defendant was outside and that he had a reasonable excuse as he was travelling to his place of work, as a worship leader. Whilst he was in a gathering and therefore in breach of regulation 7, however, the parties were together and were allowed to rely on articles 9, 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Their gathering was limited in duration, and they were entitled to gather for street evangelizing.’”

“Magistrates rule street preachers were entitled to evangelise and gather,” Christian Concern, July 23, 2021