England

Terror juror discharged for asking if officer was single

Naweed Ali, Khobaib Hussain, Mohibur Rahman and Tahir Aziz - court sketch Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Naweed Ali, Khobaib Hussain, Mohibur Rahman and Tahir Aziz (l to r) have denied preparing terrorist acts

A juror has been discharged in a trial of an alleged terror cell for "jokingly" asking whether a police officer in the case was single.

Four men from the West Midlands are accused of plotting an attack on British soil before their arrests last summer.

They deny preparing terrorist acts.

The judge said he was informed the female juror asked a court usher more than once to find out if the officer was single.

Mr Justice Globe said he was given information that another juror had also said Det Sgt Ryan Chambers was attractive.

The judge said that woman had not asked the usher to find out his relationship status but the discharged juror "went ahead".

Overheard something

The four-month Old Bailey trial was halted as the judge was about to finish his summing up and send jurors out to begin deliberating verdicts.

He said the issue arose following an inquiry from a news reporter who "overheard" something.

Naweed Ali, 29, and Khobaib Hussain, 25 - both of Sparkhill in Birmingham - and Mohibur Rahman, 32, and Tahir Aziz, 38, of Stoke-on-Trent, have denied preparing terrorist acts.

They claim an undercover officer planted a partially-constructed pipe bomb and other incriminating evidence found by MI5 in a car.

The senior judge reminded the jury Det Sgt Chambers was among a number of officers to face criticism by the defence.

The judge suggested there was a "very strong possibility" one or more of the remaining jurors might have known about the discharged juror's inquiries about Det Sgt Chambers but failed to speak up.

He said: "To put it mildly, I'm disappointed that I was not given that information.

"I have had to ask myself if it is so important that I should not allow you as a group to continue considering this case.

"I have come to the conclusion I have to draw a distinction between the person I have had to discharge and the rest of you."

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