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British army veteran prosecuted over silent prayer in an abortion facility

“In any democracy with a respect for religious freedom, all should be allowed to pray in the privacy of their own minds”, says the defence. Trial is set for November.

FUENTES ADF AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus BOURNEMOUTH (UK) 10 DE AGOSTO DE 2023 14:35 h
Adam Smith-Connor is fined for praying silently within an abortion facility . / [link]ADF UK[/link]

Adam Smith-Connor, a British army veteran, has pleaded "not guilty" to charges that allege he broke a local “buffer zone” regulation by praying in silence.



The regulation forbids “expressions of approval or disapproval” of abortion on several streets in the vicinity of an abortion facility. That includes prayer and “crossing oneself”.



Local authorities fined Smith-Connor after they found him praying silently near an abortion facility on Orphir Road, Bournemouth, England.



They also filed criminal charges against the army veteran, and the Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole (BCP) Council issued a charge against him on May 12.



The Council was legally required to notify Smith-Connor of the summons as soon as possible, but they did not engage in any kind of communication with him until July 19, eight weeks after the legal deadline for charging him expired, and almost ten weeks after the charge was issued.



The trial is set for 16 November 2023. His legal defense is supported by ADF UK.



 



Freedom of speech and religion



“I am accused of breaching an abortion clinic buffer zone by praying for my son Jacob and other victims of abortion, for their families and for abortion clinic staff. I did not approach or speak to anyone. I am being tried for the prayerful thoughts I held in my head”, said Smith-Connor upon exiting the court this Wednesday.



According to Jeremiah Igunnubole, legal counsel for ADF UK, “if Adam had been thinking about an issue other than abortion, for example, climate change, then there would be no hearing taking place today”.



“Citizens should be equally free to hold thoughts about the issue of abortion, and how it has impacted their lives and the lives of their loved ones. In any democracy with a respect for religious freedom, all should be allowed to pray in the privacy of their own minds”, he added.





[photo_footer] Adam Smith-Connor talking about his case after the hearing. / ADF UK. [/photo_footer] 


 



Isabel Vaughan-Spruce case



Early this year, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropped charges against UK director of March for Life, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, who was charged with “protesting and engaging in an act that is intimidating to service users”.



Vaughan-Spruce was searched and arrested last December by the police in an abortion clinic “buffer zone” in Birmingham.


 

 


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