Anti-abortion campaigner cautioned for breaching court order

Bernadette Smyth. Brian Little/Presseye
Bernadette Smyth. Brian Little/Presseye

An anti-abortion campaigner convicted of harassing a Marie Stopes clinic director has been cautioned for breaching a court order.

Earlier this week, Bernie Smyth of the Precious Life group was told to pay Dawn Purvis £2,000 in compensation for the campaign against her.

Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes also imposed a five-year restraining order to stop Mrs Smyth pestering or interfering with the former Progressive Unionist Party MLA.

As part of the sentence he further banned the 52-year-old from going within 20 yards of the front door of the city centre clinic over the next five years.

However, Mrs Smyth was seen protesting outside the premises on Friday.

PSNI Inspector Rosemary Thompson said: “On Friday 19 December, a woman was cautioned in the Great Victoria Street area of South Belfast in relation to breaching a court order prohibiting harassment.”

Protesters have picketed the clinic on a regular basis since it opened in the city two years ago.

Pregnancy terminations are only available in Northern Ireland if it can be proven there is a risk to the life of the woman, or there is a high risk of permanent damage to her physical or mental health.

Mrs Smyth is appealing against her original conviction.