Judge dismisses charges against street preacher

Charges have been dropped against a former teacher who was ordered by a policewoman to stop preaching outside Banbury Magistrates Court House.

The charges of assault and breach of the peace against him were dismissed by Oxford Magistrates Court.

The officer approached Bill Edwards, aged 73, when he was preaching outside the court house in Banbury and asked him to move on as some people inside the building found his preaching "offensive".

When he refused the PC told him that he would be arrested.

According to the Christian Legal Centre, who supported Mr Edwards, when he was taken into the police station by the PC, he was held to the ground and arrested by six officers.

Yesterday, the District Judge at Oxford Magistrates Court told Mr Edwards that he had no case to answer, and raised questions about whether the PC had carried out her duties properly.

The judge also rejected an application for a restraint order to prevent Mr Edwards from preaching outside Banbury Court House again, and he was given an order for costs to cover his travel expenses.

Commenting on the case, the Christian Legal Centre said: "This is one of the many instances we have seen in recent times of heavy handed tactics by the police against lawful peaceful street preaching.

"In a free society, people should be able to share the gospel in the way they think best without being penalised."