In a victory for the leading pro-life campaigner in Northern Ireland, a court has thrown out the case against Precious Life director Bernadette Smyth. She was wrongly found guilty of ‘harassing’ Dawn Purvis, the Director of the Marie Stopes abortion business in Belfast.
Leaders of the pro-life group were dumbfounded when the court initially denied Smyth’s free speech outside an abortion facility and bought the false claims from Purvis.
“As you can imagine, we all sat in the court room that day listening to the verdict and we just could not believe what we were hearing when the judge said he would not be ruling out a custodial jail sentence, community service along with a demand for compensation,” the group said after Smyth was wrongly convicted last year. “Also alarmingly, the deputy district judge, went on to attack the courageous actions of the Precious Life counsellors who reach out lovingly to women using Marie Stopes to offer them advice and support, he said that “he did not feel it’s appropriate for anyone to be stopped outside this clinic in any form, shape or fashion”.
“But we want to assure you whatever the outcome of the sentence, there will be an appeal, and we know and believe that through God Bernadette will be vindicated at her retrial in the new year,” Precious Life said then.
Sure enough, the conviction has been thrown out on appeal. As the BBC reports:
The case against Precious Life director Bernadette Smyth was thrown out of court in Belfast on Monday.
A judge ruled there was insufficient evidence that she harassed former clinic director Dawn Purvis.
The guilty verdict has been quashed. But prosecutors are seeking a restraining order to stop her approaching Ms Purvis.
Mrs Smyth, 52, denied harassing Ms Purvis on two dates in January and February last year.
Last December, she was convicted and sentenced to 100 hours community service.
Following her successful appeal at Belfast County Court on Monday, Mrs Smyth said: “I’m just relieved that my family and myself can hold our heads up, now that my name has been cleared.”