The verdict is pending in the case of 72-year-old street preacher Stephen Green, who is facing charges for holding a placard with a Bible verse near an abortion clinic in Ealing.
In February last year, Green displayed a sign reading Psalm 139:13 outside the MSI Reproductive Choices clinic on Mattock Lane, the first centre in the UK to have a designated buffer zone.
This zone is established through a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), prohibiting behaviours that could intimidate women from entering an abortion clinic, including protesting, distributing support leaflets, and even praying.
Green, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, appeared in court on Friday. However, the final judgment will be delivered at a later date. If found guilty, he could be subject to a fine of up to £1,000 and face a possible prison sentence of up to six months.
Speaking ahead of Friday's hearing, Green said: “I was deeply shocked to receive the summons from Ealing Council.
“I see this prosecution as an attack on the Bible and free speech. I am determined to defend myself and fight for justice.
“People are right to be concerned about the buffer zone legislation. To bar Christian witness and to control what people can say in an area is draconian and anti-Christian.
“There is a huge principle at stake here. If we are not free to hold a sign with a verse from Psalm 139 on it in a London street, then none of us is free.”