Lindis Percy wins Dispersal Order case over RAF Menwith Hill

18 September 2016

Lindis Percy of CAAB demonstrates every Tuesday evening outside US-dominated spybase, RAF Menwith Hill.

This week she won a court case against the Ministry of Defence Police. She writes:

R v Lindis Percy Harrogate Magistrates' Court (UK) 14/15 September 2016

I defended myself. I had been arrested and charged on 8 March and 15 April this year for declining to comply with instructions by Ministry of Defence police officers to leave ‘the locality’ at NSA/NRO Menwith Hill, near Harrogate. This was at the Tuesday weekly demonstration (this started in 2000 and is now in its 16th year).

Police did not know what they were doing and erred many times in law

MDP and North Yorkshire police officers suddenly used Dispersal Orders (s.35 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014). It was important to bring this to court to rule on whether the MDP could use Dispersal Orders. It was abundantly clear from the start that the officers did not know what they were doing and erred many times in law.

Throughout the lead-up to the trial, the Crown Prosecution Service caused many delays by ignoring directions by the Magistrates to disclose documents and CCTV. CCTV of both incidents was not forthcoming despite many requests and three applications by me for intervention hearings. The CCTV recordings were finally produced but heavily edited and not dated or timed.

The US was clearly in charge of the case

It was abundantly clear who was in charge of this case: the ‘third party’, the American authorities. Bradley Halstead, the US Judge Advocate from Menwith Hill, appeared at many of the hearings instructing the Crown Prosecutor. At trial he sat behind Beth Richardson. He brought copies of the edited CCTV which was undated and untimed and still in American format. I was not permitted to have any copies.

I made an application for the CCTV to be produced in a credible format and that Mr Halstead to be cross examined by me to validate the CCTV. He said he could not appear in the witness box as he had to have permission from the US authorities. He was in charge of the CCTV. There were no MDP officers in court. I had requested from the start and on the day of the trial that the case be heard by a District Judge as there were complex points of law to be argued. This was refused.

I was awarded costs

The case ended a day early on a point of law. The result was that the Magistrates agreed with my argument that the use of Dispersal Orders by the Ministry of Defence police (aided by North Yorkshire police) at NSA/NRO Menwith Hill cannot be used again (applies to MH). The Prosecutor offered no evidence and I was awarded costs. It is highly unlikely that the MDP will try this again at any other US base.

Case begs question about competence of MDP

Once again, the MDP did not come out well. The result of this case begs the question once again about the competence of the MDP and their worrying lack of knowledge, inappropriate use of the law and application of the law. They are paid by the US authorities on US bases – “he/she who pays the piper calls the tune’. Who was in charge was clearly demonstrated through the case preparation and trial.

Recently it was confirmed in the Intercept journal by Ryan Gallager that MH was the hub of targeted killings (Intelligence led warfare – Drones) in the Middle East and Yemen.

Thank you so much to everyone who troubled to send messages, emails and came to court in support.

Lindis Percy
Co-founder, the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases – CAAB

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