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Mike Overd/Christian Concern
Mike Overd/Christian Concern
UK News

Police apply for injunction against Christian preacher in Somerset

Avon and Somerset Police have applied to the High Court for an injunction against a Christian preacher, arguing his behaviour could cause "significant risk or harm to others".

Mike Overd, 55, is accused of repeatedly "engaging in anti-social behaviour" and police are applying for the injunction under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, which, if approved, will curb some of his ability to speak freely.

Mr Overd is known for bible-based preaching on issues of homosexuality, religion and abortion.

The order claims that Mr Overd "engages or threatens to engage" in anti-social behaviour and that his preaching "threatens violence" and could cause "significant risk or harm" to others. 

The injunction includes six orders - including a ban on Mr Overd preaching in a single town or parish for more than 20 minutes a day and going within 80 yards of an abortion clinic.

If approved by the High Court, he would also be prohibited from using an amplifier when preaching, using a box to preach from an elevated position, using placards with signs showing slogans such as "abortion is murder" or "repent" and "breaching the peace" through words or actions in a public place.

If the injunction gets the go ahead, Mr Overd would face arrest, imprisonment and contempt of court if he broke any of the orders.

Tim Dieppe, Head of Public Policy at Christian Concern told Premier:

"It seems that this is an increasing intolerance towards Christian preaching and it's extraordinary that police argue that his preaching could cause a 'significant risk or harm to others'. Well, all he is doing is exercising his right to free speech."

Mr Overd is being supported by The Christian Legal Centre who've said his messages can be hard-hitting.

"Sometimes the truth is offensive but sometimes we need to say things anyway and if people are offended maybe it will get them to think again. We are not intending to offend people but the Gospel does offend people sometimes," Tim Dieppe told Premier.

He added that he was concerned that police were using a different act than they would normally use:

"... the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act is a new way they are trying to use, to sort of restrict his freedoms here and we are quite concerned about where that could go and the precedent."

The hearing started on October 5 and is expected to last a number of days. 

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