Army Vet Vows to Fight After Arrest on Unthinkable Charge

An Army veteran pleaded not guilty Wednesday after being charged for praying silently near an abortion clinic in Bournemouth, England, a violation of the U.K.’s so-called “buffer zone” laws.

Adam Smith-Connor, who fought for his nation as part of the Army reserves in Afghanistan, entered his plea after previously being fined by authorities who questioned “the nature of his prayer”—an invocation uttered in his own mind and not aloud, according to his attorneys with ADF UK.

Smith-Connor delivered a passionate statement Wednesday as he exited a U.K. court. He pushed back against the unexpected criminal charges and restrictions on his rights.

In a related case, charges were dropped against Isabel Vaughan-Spruce for the same “crime” in the U.K. In yet another similar case, Rosa Lalor is still awaiting trial two years after being arrested for praying silently outside an abortion clinic.

“The facts of my case are clear,” Smith-Connor said. “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 on Ophir Road Bournemouth.”

He said he neither approached nor spoke to anyone and that he didn’t impede any individual’s privacy. He also said he stands against any harassment of women outside of clinics.

“I simply stood silently,” Smith-Connor said. “I am being tried for the prayerful thoughts I held in my head.”

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Months after the financial penalty, the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, which presides over the local buffer zone he’s accused of violating, has now filed criminal charges—a surprise to some, as he was expected to not be charged with a crime.

Smith-Connor, who isn’t backing down, pledged to take his challenge to the European Court of Human Rights, if necessary.

As CBN News previously reported, the British Army veteran was fined after the incident 100 pounds, the equivalent of $123.65. Video recorded the day he interacted with “safety accredited” officers shows the officials questioning the nature of his prayer.

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Reprinted with permission from cbn.com. Copyright © 2023 The Christian Broadcasting Network Inc. All rights reserved.


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