Elderly Street Preacher Falsely Arrested and Assaulted by Police
Country: United Kingdom
Date of incident: February 11, 2014
Category: Social Hostility / Intolerance
Attack against: Faith
Area of case: Governmental
73-year-old Bill Edwards was ordered by a police constable to stop preaching outside the Magistrates Court House in Banbury as some people in the building found his preaching “offensive”. He refused to move and was arrested and charged with assault and breach of peace. In the police station Mr Edwards was grabbed by six officers and pinned to the ground.In February 2014 the district judge at the Oxford Magistrates Court, told Bill Edwards that he had no case to answer and doubted that the officer had acted in the execution of her duty. Further, an application for a restraint order to prevent Edwards from preaching outside the Banbury Court House was refused. This is an example of where police use heavy-handed tactics against lawful street preaching. It also raised the question of their understanding of the way the law should be interpreted and applied. This happened ten days after the reformed Section 5 of the Public Order Act, removing the word “insulting”, had come into force.