2nd October 2000
A PEACE campaigner has halted a landmark legal action against the Government over the American spy base near Harrogate.
Lindis Percy was to have gone to the High Court in London on Thursday to argue that controversial defence technology to be sited at the Menwith Hill base contravened international law.
But she has withdrawn her writ following a move by US President Bill Clinton to delay a decision on whether to go ahead with a "son of Star Wars" system designed to intercept and destroy incoming missiles.
Now Mrs Percy, a Bradford health visitor who is a member of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), faces legal costs totalling tens of thousands of pounds.
Last year she spent five months in prison for defying court orders.
She said today: "We have withdrawn the writ on the basis of legal advice. I now have massive costs against me but we will continue to ask questions."
Campaigners argue that the deployment of SBIRS, which is part of the American National Missile Defence programme contravenes the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
Anni Rainbow, of CAAB said: "The writ was unsustainable because of Clinton's decision about the National Missile Defence system. We will have to see what happens when the new president comes in.
"Now we want 'the British Government to say 'no' to US bases here being used for the "National Missile Defence system."
Mrs Percy's writ named the Secretary of State for Defence, RAF liaison officer at Menwith Hill, Humphrey Vincent, and the Ministry of Defence Land Agent.
A fourth defendant, Col D Harthcock, the former commander of Menwith Hill,
had the action against him struck out earlier after claiming state immunity.