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Terrorism conviction quashed for misdirection

29 January 2010

A 24-year-old student convicted of possessing articles giving rise to a reasonable suspicion of involvement in terrorism, has won his appeal against conviction.

The criminal appeal court ruled today that the trial judge had given material misdirections to the jury in the case of Mohammed Atif Siddique, from Alva, Clackmannanshire, who was convicted of in 2007 of three charges under the Terrorism Acts and a breach of the peace, and sentenced to six years in prison.

Evidence was led that Siddique had amassed and distributed terrorist propaganda via websites and provided instructional material about guns and explosives over the internet.

Lord Osborne, sitting with Lord Reed and Lord Clarke, ruled that directions given to the jury amounted to a miscarriage of justice, by not following closely enough the statutory language, in particular the phrase "circumstances which give rise to a reasonable suspicion". This would have created a "serious likelihood of confusion" in the jury's minds as to he nature of the offence and the operation of the statutory defence.

The Crown has until 9 February to consider its position. Siddique will remain in custody until 9 February, when the Crown will say if it wants to seek a fresh prosecution.

Siddique's lawyers had argued that much of the material in his possession was widely available on the internet.

Click here to view the court's judgment.

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