News from Europe

A preacher could be jailed for holding a sign with a Bible verse

Christian preacher, Stephen Green, 72, was tried in court on October 17, for allegedly having protested against abortion within a 'buffer zone' surrounding MSI Reproductive Choices clinic in Mattock Lane, West London on February 6, 2023. Green was quietly holding a sign with a Bible verse from Psalm 139:13 written on it, which reads: "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb".


Appearing at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court, Green pleaded not guilty to breaking the public spaces protection order (PSPO). According to the Mail Online, Mr. Green’s charge sheet accuses him of “[protesting] by engaging in an act of disapproval or attempted act of disapproval with respect to issues related to abortion services, by written means in that you were holding a large sign displaying the text ‘Psalm 139:13 (…) relating directly or indirectly to the termination of pregnancy.”

During the brief hearing his lawyer, Robert Smith, defending, said: “He doesn’t believe that what he did amounts to the charges brought.” Green was granted unconditional bail, and will face a one-day trial at Uxbridge magistrates court on January 19, 2024.

The PSPO, put in place by Ealing Council in April 2018, was the first “buffer zone” surrounding an abortion clinic to be introduced in the UK. The PSPO legislation is usually reserved for anti-social behavior such as dog fouling, littering, and alcohol and drug misuse.


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