Street preacher escapes charges

A local council has decided to drop charges against a street preacher.

Dominic Muir was reading from the Bible and handing out Christian tracts in Battersea Park on August 11 when he was approached by a police officer.

According to the Christian Legal Centre, which has been supporting him, the officer told him he would be prosecuted because he did not have permission to preach there.

The council was seeking prosecution on the grounds that Muir had breached byelaws banning street preaching in parts of the Borough of Wandsworth, within which Battersea Park is situated.

In September, Muir entered a not guilty plea at a hearing in Richmond upon Thames and the case was adjourned for trial.

The Christian Legal Centre announced on Monday that the Borough of Wandsworth has dropped the charges against him.

"This is great news for everyone who believes in the freedom to preach the Gospel in public," the Christian Legal Centre said.

"We know from Romans 10 that people can't be saved without hearing the Gospel, and they won't hear the Gospel unless someone preaches it to them. That's why the freedom to preach the Gospel in public places is so important."

A spokesperson for Wandsworth Council commented: "Standing on the back of a van and using a loud hailer to shout messages at passers-by is a very clear breach of the park's byelaws, which are there to ensure that people can enjoy the park's peace and tranquility without being accosted or harangued.

"On this occasion we have decided that it is not in the public interest to pursue this any further, although Mr Muir has been served with a formal warning letter and told that he will face prosecution if he breaches the byelaws again."