In the Media

Pensioner in anti-US protest to be prosecuted

PUBLISHED June 20, 2006

The Government faces a test of its new anti-terror legislation after deciding to proceed with charges against a pensioner arrested while protesting at an American communications base.

Seven weeks after becoming one of the first individuals arrested under a little-noticed clause in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, Helen John, 68, of Keighley, west Yorkshire, was charged yesterday with criminal trespass and bailed to appear next week before magistrates in Harrogate, north Yorkshire.

Mrs John and a fellow peace campaigner, Sylvia Boyes, 62, were arrested on 2 April while crossing the sentry line at Menwith Hill, the US communications base in the Yorkshire Dales.

Mrs John, who could be jailed for up to 12 months if the case goes to court, said: "I want this case to be heard in a court of law, but that is probably the last place the Government wants it go."

Mrs Boyes, who was unable to attend a police station yesterday, expects to be charged next week.