A street preacher is in court this week appealing a Covid fine he received for conducting his ministry during the first national lockdown.

Andrew Sathiyavan was arrested on Sutton High Street in south London on Easter Sunday 2020.

Arresting officers told the 47-year-old that preaching the gospel during the lockdown was “not allowed”. 

He is appealing a decision by Isleworth Crown Court to uphold the fine.

The court determined that Sathiyavan should have conducted his street preaching and ministry online during lockdown. 

He has argued that this was not practical as he often ministers to the homeless and people struggling with addictions.

Ahead of the hearing, Sathiyavan said: “Gospel preaching is my work. I tell people about the Good News of Jesus Christ, which preachers have done for centuries in this country. I seek to reach people living in fear and without hope.”

He is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), who said that his case highlighted “serious inconsistencies” between the police’s attitude towards a street preacher and those who staged numerous public protests during the pandemic with impunity, as well as members of government who attended parties in breach of Covid regulations. 

CLC chief executive Andrea Williams said the treatment of Sathiyavan was “disturbing”. 

“This is a man who spends his life reaching and serving the poorest and most marginalised in our society – the people who fall through the cracks and are left behind by the system,” she said. 

“This man has a heart for the poorest in our society and for trying to reach out to them found himself locked up in a cell and strip searched.

“The police presence on Sutton High Street caused a greater risk to public health than if they had allowed Andrew to continue preaching.

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