The Bristol Four

Four Christian street preachers, known as ‘the Bristol Four’, are challenging how they have been treated by Avon and Somerset Police over eight years.

Street preachers Mike Overd, Don Karns, Mike Stockwell and AJ Clarke are challenging Avon and Somerset Police over how they have been treated over eight years.

The case centres around an incident in 2016 where the four preachers were arrested while preaching in the town centre of Bristol. They were detained, questioned, and prosecuted before eventually being acquitted of all charges.

But it isn’t just one isolated incident. One police sergeant on local BBC television in 2014 to encourage business owners “to record any evidence on their mobile phone and send it to us,” if they were offended by Mr Overd’s teaching. The case raises significant issues on the right to freedom of speech and the freedom of Christian preachers in the UK to manifest their religious beliefs and to have the right to freedom of assembly in public.

Ahead of the hearing in Bristol County Court, Mr Overd commented: “We have faced no alternative but to bring this case as the police must be held to account for their actions for what they did in July 2016 and moreover for their actions over the past eight years.

“The freedom to preach the message of the gospel on the streets of the UK to the lost, is one of our fundamental rights in this country. If we lose that right, we will begin to lose every other freedom.”

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