NI: Pastor McConnell trial for alleged Communications Act offences begins
The trial of Pastor James McConnell over alleged offences under the Communications Act 2003 has begun in Belfast Magistrates Court.
The 78-year-old preacher faces two charges related to a speech which was broadcast live over the Internet, in which he described Islam as “satanic”, “heathen” and “spawned in hell”.
The speech was delivered at the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle in north Belfast in May 2014.
The first charge is improper use of a public electronic communications network, and the second is causing a grossly offensive message to be sent by means of a public electronic communications network.
Pastor McConnell’s solicitor, Joe Rice of John J Rice & Co., has previously said his client has “every right to criticise Islam, as Islamic clerics have the right to entice him”.
The trial is expected to last three days.