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Ulster anti-abortion chief convicted of harassment

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BELFAST, Northern Ireland >> Northern Ireland’s most prominent anti-abortion activist has been found guilty of harassing the director of Belfast’s only abortion clinic and could face a prison sentence.

Bernadette Smyth, leader of the Precious Life pressure group, was convicted on two counts of threatening Dawn Purvis, who runs the Belfast branch of the British family planning service, Marie Stopes.

Belfast Judge Chris Holmes said Wednesday he would sentence Smyth on Dec. 17, when she could face probation or a jail sentence. The judge accused Smyth and her legal team of engaging in “vicious and malicious” slander of Purvis and police officers involved in the case.

Outside the courthouse, Smyth said she remained determined to force the closure of the clinic, which has experienced daily protests since opening in 2012.

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