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Closing speeches in Banff terror trial

A prosecutor has told a jury that there is an "overwhelming" amount of evidence available to convict a man of terrorism offences.

Connor Ward, 25, denies breaching the Terrorism Act at addresses in Banff, Aberdeenshire, between 2011 and 2014.

He is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Mr Ward's defence advocate has argued there is no evidence to suggest Mr Ward was planning any form of "lone-wolf" terror attack.

In his closing speech, advocate depute Richard Goddard urged jurors to convict Mr Ward and described him as "a committed Neo Nazi".

Mr Goddard told the court that the accused downloaded thousands of manuals concerning firearms and survival techniques.

He told jurors that there was only one reason why Mr Ward collected this information and that was to use it for illegal purposes.

'Overwhelming case'

Mr Goddard said: "It really forms a reference library for terrorists. The information contained within these documents is useful for preparing terrorism.

"Connor Ward stockpiled a reference library for terrorists on a variety of different topics. It is the Crown position that Connor Ward has no reasonable excuse for having this information."

The accused denies breaching the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Terrorism Act 2006 at two addresses in Banff, Aberdeenshire, between February 2011 and November 2014.

In his speech, Mr Goddard also made reference to Combat 18, a group who the jury heard were an extreme right wing paramilitary organisation.

Mr Goddard said: "Connor Ward had the intention to commit an act that our law defines as an act of terrorism. Connor Ward was not a member of Combat 18. He was a committed Neo Nazi who identified with them."

The advocate depute added: "There's an overwhelming case against Mr Ward."

'White supremacist'

However, Mr Ward's advocate Drew McKenzie told the jury that there was not any evidence available to show that his client was planning terror attacks.

He said his client did not have political views which were of the mainstream. But he said there was nothing in his client's views which contravened the law.

Mr McKenzie said: "He is obviously right wing and is a white supremacist. You might find these views repulsive but you are not here to assess his views."

The advocate added: "Connor Ward holds right wing views but there is nothing to show that Connor Ward is some form of lone wolf terrorist - it is patently absurd.

"I would say that Connor Ward is not preparing or intending to commit an act of terrorism."

The trial, before judge Lord Burns, continues.

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