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Anwar cleared of contempt of court

1 July 2008

The lawyer Aamer Anwar has been cleared of contempt of court, although judges said they would have expected better behaviour from a solicitor.

The ruling follows statements made by Mr Anwar after the trial of a student from Clackmannanshire who was found guilty of terrorism offences. Mr Anwar criticised the decision of the court and what he saw as the attack on free speech.

The trial judge at the time, Lord Carloway, thought the comments could be classified as contempt of court and referred them to three senior colleagues.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Osborne said Mr Anwar’s words had been angry and petulant, but he had not committed contempt of court. He had, however, failed to meet the standards expected from officers of the court.

Mr Anwar had been defending Clackmannanshire student Mohammed Atif Siddique and his comments were made outside the High Court in Glasgow at the conclusion of the trial last September. He had alleged that the prosecution had been driven by the state and raised in the atmosphere of hostility following the terrorist attacks on Glasgow airport.

The court said it was a matter for the Law Society of Scotland whether Mr Anwar had met the standards set by it for solicitors.

Philip Yelland, Director of Regulation at the Society, said: "The Society noted that the court has not made a complaint to the Society about Aamer Anwar's conduct, which it is entitled to do.

"The Society will now consider the opinion of the court in this case in detail and take any appropriate action."