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CAAB Report 220

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Hefty fine and costs imposed at Harrogate Magistrates' Court - 3 July 2008

Lindis Percy was in Harrogate Magistrates' Court today charged with the alleged offence of 'obstruction of the highway' on the day of five years of the illegal invasion and war in Iraq. She defended herself as she hasdone many times before and has been successful before when charged with this particular offence - using the authority of Hirst and Agu v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (1986).

From the start it was abundantly clear that the Magistrates had made up their minds. There was CCTV evidence, witness evidence by PC Brown (North Yorkshire Police and who made the arrest) and PC Rigby (Ministry of Defence Police Agency who accompanied PC Brown). Both officers were part of the Counter Terrorist Unit patrolling round the American base at Menwith Hill.

Lindis had been peacefully demonstrating at the main entrance to Menwith Hill for nearly an hour before the officers arrived. A Ministry of Defence Police Agency officer had been with her during the hour. There had been no problems. This officer was not called to give evidence or a statement taken from her despite the officer being clearly seen on video and PC Brown, in his evidence saying that he had spoken to her. The case therefore rested on approximately 13 minutes when the officers arrived and Lindis was arrested. There was no evidence on CCTV of any obstruction of the highway. The MDPA officer was 'policing' the demonstration but these two officers (from the CTU) decided to take charge.

Lindis managed to persuade the Magistrates to agree that the whole of the CCTV evidence should not be played - only from when NYP and MDPA arrived. There was a lot of things that happened in court - all friends present were distressed by the bias and lack of independence and advice for a litigant in person by Richard Irwin (Legal Advisor). He also made a serious mistake in his note taking which raised a question about Lindis's integrity which all friends in court found deeply shocking and distressing. Glyn Sutcliffe (CPS) appeared to be in charge of the court.

Lindis made several applications for the CCTV/DVD evidence to be played after PC Brown and Rigby gave evidence in order to show that what they had said was not so and to challenge what they had said. On each occasion this was denied by the Magistrates who said that they had seen the CCTV/DVD recording once and would not allow it to be shown again.

Lindis was found guilty of this charge. Fined and costs awarded against her - total £855 to be paid within 14 days. It was impossible to receive a fair trial with such blatant untruths being told, bias of the Magistrates (who of course would say otherwise), a Legal Advisor who made serious mistakes and the officers not telling the truth.

Lindis will seek legal advice as to whether she appeals the conviction and sentence to the Crown Crown.Thank you so much to Chris Dean (who was McKenzie friend in the morning) and Colin Parker who took over in the afternoon. Also to Paul Woods, Lorraine and Donald who were there to support. It was such a help.

We have now appealed the sentence and conviction where a retrial will be heard before a Judge and two Magistrates in York Crown Court.


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