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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 May, 2005, 13:00 GMT 14:00 UK
No Asbo for protest grandmother
Lindis Percy
Mrs Percy is married with three children and four grandchildren
A district judge has refused to impose an Anti-social Behaviour Order (Asbo) on a veteran peace campaigner for protesting at a US listening base.

But grandmother Lindis Percy has been electronically tagged and ordered to stay indoors during the evenings.

Police and the Ministry of Defence applied for the Asbo after Mrs Percy, 63, of Hull, was convicted of five offences relating to her protests.

District Judge Roy Anderson turned the application down.

The hearing in Harrogate heard of five offences relating to her regular protests at nearby Menwith Hill.

Mrs Percy, a part-time health visitor, has made many peace protests including climbing the gates of Buckingham Palace shortly before a visit by US President George Bush in 2003.

Courts ought not to allow anti-social behaviour orders to be used as a club to beat down the expression of legitimate comment
District Judge Roy Anderson

The Ministry of Defence Police Agency and North Yorkshire Police had jointly applied for an Asbo.

But she will instead face a curfew for eight weeks between the hours of 2000 and 0600 BST and has been ordered to pay 1,000 costs.

Rejecting the order District Judge Anderson said: "I am firmly of the view courts ought not to allow anti-social behaviour orders to be used as a club to beat down the expression of legitimate comment and the dissemination of views of matters of public concern."

Mrs Percy's supporters cheered when he refused the Asbo but cried "shame" when he imposed the curfew.

She was convicted of one count of obstructing the highway and four counts of obstructing a police officer at a trial in April.

All the incidents related to her protests outside the North Yorkshire base during regular demonstrations on Tuesday nights.

American bases

After the hearing Mrs Percy said she would be launching an appeal.

"This is political. This is all about Menwith Hill," she said.

"This is about the American bases in this country and what the Americans are doing there."

She promised to continue her protests saying: "You can't suppress the human spirit."

But she said she did take her curfew order seriously and would comply with it until her appeal is heard.

Richard Reed, Mrs Percy's solicitor, said he believed it was the first time a peace campaigner has been electronically tagged by a court in the UK.

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