A street preacher arrested in Sutton for preaching on Easter Sunday last year is to appeal a ruling made by the City of London magistrates’ court.
In July, a judge ruled it was right for the police to arrest and fine Andrew Sathiyavan, 46, for breaking Covid regulations by street preaching on Easter Sunday.
Although Sathiyavan claimed he was doing essential work in the open air, he was arrested on Sutton High Street in south London on Easter Sunday 2020 after being told by the police he was ‘not allowed’ to be there.
Video footage revealed an officer initially suggesting to Mr Sathiyavan that they had been called to the scene because the amplification he was using to preach was causing anti-social behaviour.
A third officer told Mr Sathiyavan he was ‘breaching Covid laws because he was without a purpose’, but said he was not going to be arrested.
When Mr Sathiyavan continued to ask questions, one officer took a step towards him, leant in and directed him to ‘stop now’.
One officer confiscated Mr Sathiyavan’s wooden cross, read him the caution, and handcuffed him. He was taken to custody, held for four hours, and released.
The arrest happened during the full lockdown in 2020. The judge ruled Mr Sathiyavan could, and should, have carried out his ministry online at this time.
The preacher, who is a full-time volunteer for Gospel Light Ministries, helping the homeless and those with addictions, said that his open-air preaching was an ‘essential ministry’ at the time. Mr Sathiyavan is being supported by Christian Concern.