Irish pro-life leader wins appeal against harassment conviction

Bernadette Smyth, the leader of Northern Ireland pro-life organization Precious Life, has won her appeal on a conviction of harassing former abortion clinic director and Northern Ireland assembly member Dawn Purvis, the BBC reports.

Claiming she “was frightened” and was “caus[ed] a lot of angst” by pro-life protestors outside her Belfast abortion clinic in January and February 2014, Purvis pressed harassment charges against Smyth for stopping and questioning people about abortion outside the facility.

In December, Smyth was convicted and sentenced to a fine, 100 hours of community service, and a restraining order preventing her from coming within 20 yards of the abortion clinic, even though solicitor Aiden Carlin contended that Smyth, his client, neither used “bad language” nor made “any attempt to make contact with Dawn Purvis,” and that Purvis was the one who “approached Bernadette Smyth’s personal space on both occasions.”

On Monday, a judge agreed, throwing out the conviction on the grounds that the evidence did not warrant it. Smyth no longer has to worry about the fine or community service, though a decision whether to invalidate the restraining order is still pending.

Live Action News previously reported on Bernadette Smyth’s pro-life advocacy in 2013. “We must raise up a banner of prayer across the nation,” she then told a rally of Irish men and women committed to upholding the constitution’s protection of human life. “We are a people that will not accept a bill that allows our children to be killed. We must storm heaven at this time. We need a revolution in prayer.”

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