By Cassy Fiano-Chesser
A United Kingdom (UK) Army veteran will not face criminal charges, according to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) UK, which is representing him.
According to a press release, local authorities have backed down and refused to take legal action against Adam Smith-Connor. In January, ADF UK announced the arrest of Smith-Connor, who had been praying silently near an abortion facility in a Bournesmith censorship zone. Though Smith-Connor had his back turned to the facility, police still arrested him, saying he had violated the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).
Now the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council has refrained from prosecuting Smith-Connor, though originally, he had been told that he would be criminally charged if he did not pay a fine. Smith-Connor refused to pay a fine for what he called a “thought-crime,” and the council has not filed any charges.
According to Section 127 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980, there is a time limit of six months from the time an offense is committed for the information to be “laid on the court.”
Smith-Connor submitted to the council that the fine was “an interference with his absolute right under Article 9(1) to hold a religious belief,” with the help of ADF UK.
“All that [Smith-Connor] was doing was holding a belief in his head. He was not manifesting his belief by doing some act having a potential to affect other persons. His act was purely internal. But for the fact that he happened to be praying in his mind about abortion, Adam would not have been asked to leave,” Jeremiah Igunnubole, legal counsel for ADF UK, said in the press release, adding, “Adam was discriminated against in comparison to another person in an analogous situation based on his core faith-based beliefs.”
Though this was a positive outcome for Smith-Connor, legislation approving buffer zones outside of every single abortion facility in the UK has already been approved.
“Nobody should be criminalized for what they believe – especially not when they express that belief silently, in the privacy of their own minds. I’m glad that, in my case, common-sense policing won the day. However, it’s not right that I had to wait anxiously for a full six months for the authorities to determine my fate. The process, in essence, became my punishment,” Smith-Connor said.
“It’s unthinkable that I was issued a penalty simply for praying about my own experience of abortion – having paid for my ex-girlfriend to have one – and my son, Jacob, whom I lost. The decision I made all those years ago now grieves me deeply. It isn’t for the authorities to determine the contents of my thoughts on this matter, on a public street. I served in Afghanistan to defend democratic freedom – and yet, we see this encroachment on fundamental rights on the streets of Britain today.”
Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.