Terrorism trial collapses after defence press for disclosure from the security services

03.06.15 | |

The prosecution of Bherlin Gidlo collapsed on Monday after the prosecution offered no evidence following a three week abuse of process hearing. Richard Thomas, led by Henry Blaxland QC and instructed by Gareth Peirce, represented Mr Gildo who was charged with attending a terrorist training camp in Syria in 2012 and possessing information likely to be of use to a terrorist. Mr Gildo was a Swedish national who was transiting through Heathrow en route to the Philippine’s. He volunteered in a Schedule 7 interview that he had travelled to Syria, and then returned to Syria with the full knowledge of the Swedish authorities. Along with the UK, Sweden is a signatory to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism but operates a policy of rehabilitation rather than prosecution. It was argued on his behalf that prosecuting in the UK these circumstances amounted to an abuse of process and that, in addition, when he was in Syria in 2012, the UK security services were involved in the supply of arms to the rebels fighting President Assad and that it would be unconscionable to prosecute in circumstances where the government was encouraging and facilitating the very activity in which the defendant was involved. The defence relied on reports of investigative journalists and pressed for disclosure from the security services as to the veracity of those reports. The Recorder of London was not required to rule as the prosecution, having requested a further adjournment and having consulted with the Attorney General, then offered no evidence.


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