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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 15:30 GMT
'Bad faith' claim over terror law
Menwith Hill monitoring station
The Menwith Hill base is the largest electronic monitoring station in the world
A peace campaigner has said the government acted in "bad faith" when it labelled a US spy base a designated site under new anti-terror laws.

Helen John, 69, and Sylvia Boyes, 63, were protesting at the base on the first day the new laws were enforced, Harrogate magistrates heard.

The grandmothers were charged with criminal trespass at RAF Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, on 1 April last year.

Their trial was adjourned when Mrs John brought in new case law in her defence.

Both women were arrested on the day the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act came into force.

The women, both from Keighley, West Yorkshire, deny the charge at their trial at Harrogate Magistrates' Court.

Case adjourned

On Thursday Mrs John, defending herself, brought in new case law and accused lawmakers of acting in "bad faith".

District judge Martin Walker adjourned the case until 17 April so lawyers on both sides could consider the matter.

Judge Walker said: "This is the first case brought under this particular act and this particular section.

"The alleged offences took place on the first day this act was brought into effect. I cannot see it will be possible to continue today without looking at the specific authorities."

Mrs John was told by the district judge that the witness box should not be used as a "soap box".

Ms Boyes, who appeared in court on Wednesday wearing a "no star wars" T-shirt, sacked her defence counsel, James Keeley, at the end of the prosecution case and is defending herself.

Judge Walker varied the bail conditions to allow them to go within 100 metres of the base, but not to go beyond the site's boundary fence or yellow demarcation line.


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