London 2012: Missile tenants lose legal ruling

Lawyer David Enright: "The clear implication of today's judgement is that the Ministry of Defence now has the power to militarise the private homes of any person"

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Residents have lost their High Court battle to prevent surface-to-air missiles being stationed on the roof of their tower block during the Olympics.

They had said having them on Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone, east London, would make them a terrorist target.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said the missile deployment is legitimate and proportionate.

A judge said residents were "under something of a misapprehension" regarding the equipment and risks.

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said he agreed with the MoD that a tower block was the only suitable site for missiles and the facts of the case were "not susceptible to a sensible challenge".

He added the MoD's voluntary engagement with the community over the plans was "immaculate" and the residents who challenged the missile sites had misunderstood the facts.

'Evil statement'

Justice Haddon-Cave said the MoD had no duty to consult, had not promised to and no "conspicuous unfairness" was caused by not consulting.

He added: "The law and the facts militate against the claim for judicial review.

"In my judgment the MoD's voluntary engagement with the community and residents in this matter were immaculate".

London 2012 - One extraordinary year

London 2012 One extraordinary year graphic

The 15-storey tower block is one of six locations selected for missiles to be stationed.

David Forsdick, appearing on behalf of the MoD, said the deployment would "happen imminently and will not be stayed".

The residents' barrister, Marc Willers, said any appeal move would be made quickly, "possibly" on Wednesday morning.

He added the tenants who do not want to stay during the Olympics may be found alternative accommodation.

On Monday, Mr Willers, said their block could become the "focus of a terrorist attack" to make an "evil statement".

The defence secretary was accused by the local residents' association of breaching Article 8 and Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

These protect an individual's right to a private life and peaceful enjoyment of their home.

The MoD was also accused of failing to carry out an equality impact assessment to take into account the needs of disabled residents.

Mr Forsdick said the decision over where to position the missiles was taken at the "highest levels after rigorous scrutiny".

He said it was signed off by the prime minister, deputy prime minister, home secretary and defence secretary in "defence of the realm".

He told the court: "The MoD, intelligence agencies and the Metropolitan Police do not consider there is any credible threat to the Fred Wigg Tower from terrorism."

That view, he said, was supported by a witness statement from Dr Campbell McCafferty, head of UK counter-terrorism at the MoD.

Map showing the locations of the six sites that will have surface-to-air missiles Map showing the locations of the six sites that will have surface-to-air missiles

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