Judge rescues 'peace' woman

Click to follow
The Independent Online
A HIGH COURT judge intervened late last night to release a 'peace' campaigner jailed yesterday for contempt for placing her papers on a table in court.

Lindis Percy had been representing herself on charges of criminal damage before Pately Bridge magistrates in North Yorkshire. She had been accused of damaging a fence at a US military communications centre near Harrogate with her nail file.

Ms Percy, of Bradford, West Yorkshire, asked the magistrates for permission to sit at a desk but was turned down. When she placed papers on the solicitors' table they sentenced her to a month's imprisonment. Bail was refused and she faced spending the weekend at Low Newton Remand Centre, Durham.

But at 10pm last night Mr Justice Hutchison, following an emergency application in the High Court, reversed the judgement by granting immediate bail and permission for a judicial review of the magistrates' ruling.

Ms Percy, who has been arrested 150 times, was fined pounds 100 by the bench at Pately Bridge last month for the same offence.

The sentence was last night denounced as a 'mockery' by lawyers, who said that even if Ms Percy she had been convicted of the original charge, she would not have been sent to jail.

Last night friends of Ms Percy said she often represented herself and was invariably allowed to use the solicitors' table by other magistrates. Yesterday when refused permission she put her papers on the table and stood next to it. When she refused to return to the defendant's chair, the bench jailed her.