Yesterday, Thursday 16th July 2015, ‘Stop Marie Stopes Campaign’ counsellor Alicea Brennan and others received the wonderful news that the Public Prosecution Service have decided to drop all complaints and charges of alleged ‘harassment’ brought against them by Marie Stopes escorts.
On Monday 29th June 2015, the director of Precious Life and spokesperson for the ‘Stop Marie Stopes Campaign’, Bernadette Smyth, won her appeal against deputy district judge Chris Holmes’ ruling on in November 2014 that found her guilty of harassing Dawn Purvis, the former programme director of Marie Stopes. On the day of her appeal, Judge Kerr quashed her conviction, ruling that her presence outside the Marie Stopes centre in Belfast was not criminal behaviour. There was no case to answer.
Yesterday, Bernadette Smyth also received the news that the PPS had dropped a charge brought against her for breaching her restraining order in December 2014.
Following Judge Kerr’s ruling and Bernadette Smyth’s rightful vindication, it became embarrassingly clear to the PPS that they could not possibly prosecute Alicea Brennan or other pro-life counsellors and volunteers for any criminal behaviour. After all, they are simply present outside the Marie Stopes centre to offer women valuable information on abortion and to provide them with all the help and support they need to choose life for their unborn child.
Commenting on her own vindication and the vindication of all the pro-life counsellors and volunteers, Bernadette Smyth said:
“From the moment the word ‘harassment’ was uttered from Dawn Purvis and Marie Stopes escorts, members of Precious Life and the ‘Stop Marie Stopes Campaign’ and I were subjected to vitriolic abuse from everyone who simply ‘jumped on the bandwagon’. Between the constant intimidating presence of the police who arrived at 14 Great Victoria Street at the beck and call of the Marie Stopes employees and who stood staring at the counsellors and stalked their every move, and their nasty and disrespectful manner in their interactions with the counsellors, it was clear that the police, and indeed, the PPS, were abusing their powers and were shamefully working hand in glove with Marie Stopes employees and escorts all along.
“The past eighteen months have been a living nightmare for all of us and our families and we thank God that it is finally over and for helping us through this horrible ordeal. Again I would like to thank the wonderful work and fiery dedication of Aiden Carlin Solicitors and my barristers Mark Mulholland QC and Seamus Lannon.
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“Precious Life will continue in our work to protect mothers and their unborn children from the horror of abortion, exactly as we have been doing for the last eighteen years. ‘Stop Marie Stopes Campaign’ counsellors and other volunteers will continue to brave the spits and jeers and screaming fury of those who cannot stand being shown the murderous and gruesome reality of what they support and what Marie Stopes support.
“They may tell lies about us, slander our name, or take us to court, but we will still defend the unborn child. We are never going away.”