News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Adam Smith Conner banner.jpg
Adam Smith Conner.jpg
World News

Army veteran pleads not guilty of silent prayer near abortion facility

by Premier Journalist

Adam Smith-Connor has pleaded "not guilty", to charges related to breaking a local ‘buffer zone’ around an abortion clinic, and praying silently outside the medical facility.  He was approached by police outside the clinic on Orphir Road, Bournemouth earlier this year.

Five councils across the UK have implemented active “buffer zones” banning prayer and offers of charitable help to women on the public streets near abortion facilities, since the UK parliament passed legislation in March.

Mr Smith-Connor was under the impression he would not be prosecuted, as the statutory time-limit for pressing charges had already elapsed.  He delivered an emotional speech following a the plea hearing on Wednesday morning:

“We are standing in the nation of the Magna Carta, the nation which has championed democracy and freedom. We have a history of upholding human rights we can be proud of, and a respect for freedom that I fought to uphold when I served this country for twenty years in the army reserves, including in Afghanistan. Yet here I stand before you... being prosecuted – for a thought crime."

In the past Smith-Connor acknowledges paying for an ex-girlfriend to have an abortion – a decision how now says he regrets.

ADF-UK lawyers are supporting his case and were present in court.

It's not the first time someone has been prosecuted for silent prayer in the UK.  Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, who was arrested for praying in her head in similar circumstances earlier this year, attended the Hearing at Poole Magistrates Court to support Adam.

In a viral video in December, Vaughan-Spruce was seen being searched and arrested by three police officers after saying that she “might be” praying inside her head.    She was later found not guilty by Birmingham Magistrates’ Court. 

Smith-Conner is being charged under Public Spaces Protection Order, which forbids “expressions of approval or disapproval” of abortion on several streets in the vicinity of an abortion facility.  Prayer is given as one such expression, as well as “crossing oneself” in public.

Smith-Connor’s legal team contend that freedom of thought is protected absolutely through the Human Rights Act and therefore the Council has no power to prohibit silent prayer. 

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email