An evangelical preacher remained defiant last night after going on trial on charges linked to an anti-Islamic sermon.
As he left Belfast Magistrates Court, Pastor James McConnell said his legal team was "fighting hard".
His comment came after the opening day of a landmark case connected to a controversial religious address he made at Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle last year.
The 78-year-old branded Islam "heathen" and "satanic" in the sermon, which was streamed on the internet. He also told the congregation that he didn't trust Muslims.
A prosecuting lawyer accused him of characterizing the followers of an entire religion in a stereotypical way.
McConnell is accused of improper use of a public electronic communications network, and causing a grossly offensive message to be sent by means of a public electronic communications network.
The charges relate to the internet-broadcast sermon in which he also described Islam as "a doctrine spawned in hell".