PRESS RELEASE - BERNADETTE SMYTH – UNSAFE CONVICTION
We act for Bernadette Smyth whose Appeal against conviction and sentence is listed before the Recorder of Belfast on 16th January 2015.
Commenting on the case, Solicitor Aiden Carlin said: “Today marks another step towards justice for Bernadette Smyth who was wrongfully convicted of harassment on 19th November 2014. She was sentenced today to pay £2,000 compensation and received a five-year restraining order to stay away from Dawn Purvis or anyone seeking to enter Marie Stopes. Bernadette Smyth has also been excluded from going within 20 yards of the Belfast clinic. This sentence is also subject of Appeal and has no affect in the meantime.”
Aiden Carlin continued: “Article 9 of the Convention provides that a person has the right to manifest their religion through teaching. Bernadette Smyth has attended at Great Victoria Street to reach out as a Christian to couples in crisis. In doing so she is exercising her right to impart her faith and has been a visible witness for the Pro-life movement for approximately 17 years. Article 10 of the Convention provides that the person has the right to impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. Again, the subject of these proceedings is a prayer vigil and an outreach on Great Victoria Street in Belfast. Article 11 of the Convention provides for the right of peaceful assembly. Bernadette Smyth was exercising that right on both occasions.”
Aiden Carlin concluded: “Those who stand and pray outside Marie Stopes and other abortion facilities throughout the UK and Ireland are as much a part of society as the rest. Bernadette Smyth is a very highly respected Christian who has earned public recognition for her tireless work. She has campaigned worldwide on behalf of the unborn for over 17 years. Bernadette Smyth has totally refuted this allegation and invites Christians everywhere to follow the next stage of her landmark case which has the potential to shape how the law is interpreted and applied in future.”
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