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Convicted preacher vows to return to the streets

Wed 01 Mar 2017
By Alex Williams

An evangelist has vowed to return to the streets, one day after being convicted of public order offences in Bristol.

In an exclusive interview with Premier, Mike Overd also suggested the Crown Prosecution Service is persecuting believers.

He told Premier's News Hour: "I'm, God willing, out this week and will continue to do so until he calls me home or raptures me.

"My conscience is clear before my father in heaven that I didn't sin against him or any dear unbeliever on that street that day."

Mr Overd was found guilty on Tuesday - along with a second man, Michael Stockwell - of "threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, thereby, and the offence was religiously aggravated".

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The pair were among four people preaching outside Broadmead Shopping Centre on 6th July 2016 before being arrested after police decided that Mr Overd was "causing a disturbance".

A public prosecutor argued the men's behaviour constituted a clear threat to violence and suggested quoting parts of the King James Bible in the context of modern British society "must be considered to be abusive and is a criminal matter".

Mr Overd went on to say: "I'm confident in God whatever happens. This isn't in the power of the Crown Prosecution Service.

"Think how ironic that is; this is the crown, which represents our Queen, persecuting Christian preachers. I'm not sure she even knows this is going on."

According to lawyers at the Christian Legal Centre, who have been supporting them, the two men are going to appeal the verdict.

Chief executive, Andrea Williams said: "Mike Overd and Michael Stockwell were saying nothing that wouldn't be heard at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park - presenting the claims of the Bible, answering the crowd's questions and objections and responding calmly to abuse which was hurled at them.

"For a court to rule that this breaks the law is extraordinary."

Mike Overd added: "I'm not afraid. I fear God, not man. There's nothing to fear. Man may kill my body but cannot kill my soul; that's our father's power that he has. No, I'm not afraid. I go because I love people."

Click here to listen to Premier's Aaron James speaking with Mike Overd:

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