UK

Jury on terror suspect control order case discharged

Scales of justice
Image caption The jury deliberated for more than 14 hours

A jury in the case of a terror suspect accused of breaching his control order has been discharged after failing to reach verdicts on all counts.

The 27-year-old British man - known only as CD - was accused of 15 counts of failing to comply with the order.

The jury found CD not guilty on two counts but failed to reach verdicts on the remaining 13.

Prosecutors say they will not seek a retrial and CD will be returned to his control order address in Leicester.

The charges against him will lie on file.

This is the second such trial in which a jury has failed to convict a terrorism suspect of breaking his control orders.

Firearms attack claim

High Court judges have already backed CD's control order and relocation from London to Leicester, saying there was reasonable evidence to believe that the suspect had been trying to get hold of firearms for an attack on the capital. He denies the allegations.

At the Old Bailey, the judge, Mr Recorder Sir Geoffrey Nice, discharged the jury after more than 14 hours of deliberations.

The jury had earlier unanimously cleared CD of two breaches - but told Mr Recorder Nice they could not agree on the remaining counts.

Although CD will be returned to his control order address, he will return to London within months when the control order regime is replaced by a revised system that does not include relocations.

The court heard that on five occasions he failed to telephone in time the company that monitored his electronic tag and 12-hour overnight curfew.

On a further 10 occasions he turned up late at a police station for his daily signing-on appointment.

But the man, described in court as a convert to Islam with two wives, said he did not intentionally breach the order.

He said he had been suffering from the mental and physical effects of being placed under restrictions and relocated away from his family, subjected to a curfew and other restrictions on where he can go and whom he can meet.

CD told the jury that he sometimes could not get out of bed because his life had effectively come to a halt since being placed under the restrictions.

"The only two things that I am here for is failing to sign on and phoning the company," he told jurors.

"Any individual put in this situation has to daily fight to keep mentally afloat because you are drowning in all sorts of negative feelings."

'Terror training'

Earlier this year, judges at the High Court, which administers control orders, said Home Secretary Theresa May had reasonable grounds for subjecting CD to the order.

The court said that, in 2004, CD was at a terrorism training camp in Cumbria along with the men who carried out the failed 21 July 2005 suicide attacks in London.

He then moved to Syria, where he allegedly received further terrorism training, before returning home in 2009.

Judges said they were satisfied that CD was a leading figure in a network of Islamist extremists who had sought firearms for a possible terrorism attack.

Relocation concern

CD's case has been the focus of the political battle over the future of control orders, with London Mayor Boris Johnson saying that he did not want the man to be allowed into London.

But the home secretary loses the power to relocate suspects once the replacement regime for control orders comes into force at the end of this year.

In June, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne of the Metropolitan Police admitted to MPs that he was concerned about CD's prospective return to the capital.

He told MPs: "The individual you are talking about lived in London, in a difficult policing environment. It would be more difficult to manage that person if he returned to the residence that he was in before he was moved."

The Home Office has now published a draft bill which includes the power to relocate a suspect.

The power and other more severe restrictions could only be used if the legislation was passed by Parliament in exceptional circumstances.

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