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'Justice has been served': Nottingham pastor no longer has to pay £10k fine for holding outdoor church gathering

by Kelly Valencia

A pastor in Nottingham has said she is "relieved" after the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case against her for holding an outdoor church service in February. 

"I am so relieved that this case has been thrown out and justice has finally been served," Pastor Chez Dyer said. 

The 47-year-old was issued with a £10,000 fine for organising a church service on 20th February in a car park in Bardney Drive, Nottingham. She ran it as part of the Church on the Streets ministry which provides food and drinks for homeless people. 

England was in lockdown at the time and police deemed the event as an "illegal gathering" with Pastor Chez and her team issued with a £10,000 fine.

Pastor Chez was actually then convicted, but as she was unaware of the proceedings against her, Christian Concern, her legal team, helped her to appeal the decision, and the case was reopened. 

On Thursday, Nottingham Magistrates' Court heard the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had withdrawn its case.

A spokesperson for Nottinghamshire Police said: "Officers have worked hard throughout the pandemic to keep the public safe. Our approach has always been to engage with members of the public, explain the rules and encourage compliance where possible.

"Enforcement action was taken after gatherings only as a last resort and only with the intention of keeping people safe and ensuring the NHS was not overwhelmed. After further discussion with our colleagues at the Crown Prosecution Service the decision was taken to withdraw this case."

Pastor Chez concluded: "We reach people with the Good News of Jesus Christ during the toughest of times. This is what the church is and what the church should do. For this, however, I was treated like a criminal. We are a church with limited financial resources, so to face fines of this magnitude for helping the homeless was devastating.

"I hope my story can show people the vital role Christian Street ministry plays in our country."

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