Strong Evidence indeed

Khan, 23, was yesterday convicted of three counts of possessing articles for terrorism but the jury was not told he was part of a network of international terrorists in Europe and North America.

It can now be revealed that Khan was closely connected to the alleged leader of a group of men currently awaiting trial for plotting an attack.

\’Ee\’s a bad \’un for sure. Look, he knows this other bloke as yet convicted of nothing.

And, of course, this conviction will be used to justify the conviction of the other.

Sigh.

He added: "Let there be no doubt, these are dangerous individuals. These men were not simply in possession of material which expressed extremist views. They were also in possession of material that was operationally useful to anyone wishing to carry out an act of violence or terrorism."

Well, umm…

Aabid Hussain Khan, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, had compiled pictures, maps and details of the opening hours of official residences from information available on the internet.

There were also details of London landmarks including the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and the underground as well as the New York and Washington metros and a home-made video of the Washington Memorial and World Bank in the US.

This could be useful for terrorism, yes. I-t could also be a holiday video and the research for a project on how much the Royals costs us.

The problem I\’ve got here (not that my problems are all that important) is that thie blokle may well have been a would be terrorist. It\’s just that with the information presented so far (and of course I didn\’t see what was presented in court) I\’ve no way of knowing.

Operation Praline, run by the Counter-Terrorism Unit in Leeds, was sparked when police, acting on intelligence, stopped Khan at Manchester airport as he returned from Pakistan.

Officers found two computer hard drives, DVDs, forged currency, false identification papers, handwritten notes and correspondence.

Forged currency and ID papers? That\’s very definitely a crime. Why not prosecute for this rather than use the list of opening times as evidence of terrorist plots?

There\’s one other possibility here: that I\’ve been made so cynical by the security theatre, made so blase about the threat of terrorism as a result of the way that all and sundry tell us we must be investigated, detailed, ID\’d, unliberated, that I don\’t believe them when they find a real one. And even that, the best explanation for my unease, isn\’t really a very hopeful one is it?

14 thoughts on “Strong Evidence indeed”

  1. Gosh, Tim, I hope I get you on the jury when they find me standing over Gordon Brown’s body with a bloody axe.

    Tim adds: A better argument for jury nullification I have yet to hear….

  2. No, it’s an argument for the jury’s deliberations being based on reasonable doubt, not libertarian special pleading.

  3. Being brown and having a map of London does not, in the eyes of anyone sane, constitute “beyond reasonable doubt”.

    It’s possible that there’s some evidence beyond the press reports which does establish the defendant’s guilt – but anyone who’d convict on the basis of the reported evidence should not be allowed to sit on a jury.

  4. I’ll have to read the post again. The first time through, I thought it was an argument for normal rules of evidence in all cases and for the application of a “beyond reasonable doubt” burden of proof.

  5. Why not prosecute for this rather than use the list of opening times as evidence of terrorist plots?

    Because we live in a curious time when the state has made it virtually impossible to punish someone meaningfully for “traditional” crimes (possession of forged currency, false documents etc) while simultaneously creating a plethora of NewCrimes to which the old rules of evidence, habeus corpus, etc, etc, need not apply but draconian punishments can be administered.

  6. Julia M, that link of yours opens up a rather interesting line of enquiry.

    How many jurors have sat through a trial wishing they had more precise and detailed information? How many have found the evidence of both parties seriously lacking and incomplete?

    Some years ago, I was a witness to a road accident which occurred at night, in bad weather. The prosecution presented none of the weather information I had supplied in my statement, and counsel for the defence submitted a raft of statements about the prevailing conditions which I knew to be untrue.

    But any jury would have been mystified by his insistence that the accident happened “in broad daylight”, at 8.30pm in Manchester, in mid-December.

  7. john b

    “Posession of a single false passport gets 12 months minimum, even for someone of previous good character and a guilty plea. But apart from being wrong, you’re right.”

    Any ideas as to why they did not prosecute on these grounds then?

  8. I have a number of hard drives connected to my computer chock full of a whole load of dubious extremist information, fuzzy videos with wailing and heavily distorted soundtracks, plans, bomb-making guides and lists of weapons manufacturers, gratuitous knife shops and pictures of blokes holding guns.

    It is called the internet.

    Get him on the false papers. Nail him, even. On possessing bomb plans? Nonsense. Could be Jihadi Pr0n. I did not see any accusation of conspiracy to commit, so they have no proof he was actually going to implement any of this knowledge. Guilty before proven innocent. A disgrace.

  9. “any jury would have been mystified by his insistence that the accident happened “in broad daylight”, at 8.30pm in Manchester, in mid-December.”

    Good old CPS…! Yes, you can almost feel a twinge of sypathy for the unnamed juror, can’t you? Well, apart from thhe cost of the aborted trial, that is…

    “Posession of a single false passport gets 12 months minimum,”

    Nice to know what the book says, but evidence that anyone has actually received that sentence would be far more worthwhile.

  10. In R v Kolawole – the 2004 case which established the guidance I linked earlier – Kolawole got 18 months for a fake passport despite prior good character and no suspicion of terror/serious crime links. More recently in R v Adebayo, Adebayo got 18 months (reduced at appeal from 2 years) for a fake passport and NI card, again despite prior good character and no suspicion of terror/serious crime links.

    This Nigerian press article contains case numbers for both.

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