Magistrates in London have thrown out a case against a street preacher who was fined for open-air evangelism during the lockdown.
Joshua Sutcliffe, 31, was preaching and handing out leaflets in Camden, North London, on Good Friday last year.
Four police officers approached him, and he was told that he was outdoors without a reasonable excuse, contrary to the Covid regulations.
He argued that, as a pastor, he was allowed to be outdoors providing charitable services. But he was cautioned by the police and he received a fixed penalty notice of £60.
He decided to challenge the fine in court, and he was supported by the Christian Legal Centre.
The magistrates decided he had a reasonable excuse to be outside and he was entitled to be there for street evangelising.
Responding to the ruling, Joshua said, ‘At one point during the incident I was surrounded by four police officers, which was very intimidating. They treated me like a second-class citizen.
‘I am a Christian minister of the gospel, which not so long ago was a treasured and respected vocation in the UK.
‘During times of need, people need the hope of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what I do on a regular basis, I go to the streets and proclaim the hope and truth of the resurrection of Christ.
‘I was doing this on Good Friday, one of the most important days in the Christian calendar to do this.
‘I am very glad the magistrates threw the case out and that reason and justice prevailed.’