Entries Tagged as 'Reports'

Successful appeal of conviction and sentence

York Crown Court – Friday 16 January 2009
This was an appeal by Lindis Percy against the conviction and sentence for obstruction of the highway at Menwith Hill on 20 March 2008.

Read the report

‘Keep Space for Peace’ demonstration close to NSA Menwith Hill

Saturday 4 October 2008

CAAB Report 224.

Despite the terrible weather and other events happening on the same day, people came to the eighth annual ‘Keep Space for Peace’ demonstration which is part of a week of international protest against Missile Defense called for by the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space (www.space4peace.org). The police were in excess – on foot, on horses, on bikes, in cars and waiting in the side roads in vans. Extra Ministry of Defence Police Agency officers were on duty on the base.

Again, a section 12 notice (Public Order Act1986) was served on everyone at the demonstration which prohibited anyone from ‘processing on foot on the A59’. The police would not allow anyone to step on the grass verge of the laybye and threatened arrest if anyone did and escorted off. We have again contacted Liberty about these restrictions which fell beyond the conditions of the notice.

There were wonderful musicians – Karl Dallas, Sunhumble, Ylem and the Peace Artistes. The speakers were Rebecca Johnson (Director of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy) and Colin Challen Labour MP for Morley and Rothwell.

Rebecca Johnson focused on the dangers of weapons in space and said that interceptor missiles sited in Poland are still missiles. The Russians see them as a direct threat that requires counter measures. We live in a dangerous world.

Colin Challen talked about the excessive policing of the demonstration which did nothing to reduce the suspicion that there is something to hide. He said that it is incredibly important and worthwhile to continue to protest against Missile Defense. He will continue to raise the issue in Parliament. It was essential that there was Parliamentary scrutiny concerning Missile Defense.

A small delegation including Rebecca Johnson and Colin Challen drove to the main entrance at Menwith Hill with a message of concern addressed to Mary O’Brien (US Base Commander). This had been signed by those at the demonstration. We wrote to Mary O’Brien (sent by recorded delivery) the day before to say that this is what we intended to do.

The US Commander was nowhere to be seen nor any American representative. Terry Moody ( Inspector Ministry of Defence Police Agency) received the letter and assured the delegation that it would be given to Mary O’Brien [David Ranson – (Inspector MDPA ) confirmed at the Tuesday evening demonstration on 7 October that it had been given to Mary O’Brien personally].

The police were clearly expecting us to go on a walk round the base (prohibited by the section 12 notice) and when they thought we would, boths ends of the laybye were blocked by the police. There were police at 10 metre intervals on the length of the grass verge of the laybye where the demonstration was held. This site had been chosen this year so that it was more visible to the passing traffic.

We had no intention of walking in procession round the base but instead, drove in convoy in a series of cars, holding the upside down US flag from the passenger window- leaving the police standing. The convoy was led by a cyclist – causing a long tail back of cars.

The demonstration ended early because of the heavy rain.

Thank you so much to all who came, to Martin Schweiger, to the excellent speakers, the talented musicians and Lunch Out Lils who supplied the delicious food and to all who helped to organize the demonstration. We would also like to thank Dave Tetley (PC Liaison officer – North Yorkshire Police for the past five years) for being so courteous and helpful.

Lindis Percy and Laila Packer




A Matter of a Bollard…

Guilty verdict at Harrogate Magistrates’ Court – 19 August 2008.

Harrogate Magistrates’ Court
19 and 20 August 2008

R v Lindis Percy
Alleged offence: s.69 ‘aggravated trespass’ (Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994) x 2

This case arose out of three incidents at Menwith Hill last year. Lindis Percy was charged with breaching a s.69 notice which had been issued by David Harding (Ministry of Defence Police Agency officer) at the regular Tuesday evening demonstration last July. The demonstration has been held every week for nearly nine years now.

There were two offences to be heard by Mr Sanders (District Judge from Cheshire in the Wirrell). The case was orginally set for three days but on the first day it became clear that it would not be necessary to call all 9 prosecution witnesses as there were three CCTV videos which were shown and many of the points had been agreed. This cut down the case considerably.

We had argued that the notice issued by David Harding was not valid and that the area at the main gate was part of the highway. The essence of section 69 says that if an officer reasonably believes that a person trepasses on land in the open air with the intention of disrupting, obstructing or intimidating lawful activity then an offence is committed and a notice can be issued. Once issued the person must not come back to the land within 3 months.

District Judge ruled today (Tuesday) that Lindis was guilty of breaching the notice twice. He ruled that the notice was valid and that the area in question was not part of the highway. She was given a conditional discharge (12 months) and ordered to pay £300 costs. Mr Sanders said that the offences were at the ‘lower end of the scale’ and implied some criticism of the MDPA. The demonstration had been peaceful. There had been only ‘minor’ insignificant obstruction of the traffic. He said that the kicking of a bollard was intended by Lindis to be obstructive (this was not Lindis’s intention).

The ‘guilty’ verdict therefore rested on the fact that Lindis had kicked a bollard, ostensibily put in the middle of the main gate area for safety reasons by the MDPA so obstructing the police officers (s.69 ‘obstruction’ clause). Because the notice was validly given the second offence was therefore proved.

Section 69 (‘aggravated trespass’) has been persistently used against Lindis by the Ministry of Defence Agency officers at various US bases round the country since this draconian Act came on statute in 1994. It was never meant to be used to include peaceful protest. Section 69 is difficult to challenge as the officer only has to ‘reasonably believe’ that an offence has, is about to or is likely to be committed. An appeal has now been lodged on a specific legal point in the Crown Court.

Thank you so much to friends who came to court and to Richard Reed for representing Lindis.

Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases

Appeal withdrawn
At York Crown Court on 6 March 2009 Lindis Percy instructed Henry Trory (representing Barrister) to withdraw this appeal on the grounds that the legal argument advanced (and advised) orginally could not be sustained. No costs were involved.