Law student Erol Incedal has been cleared of charges which alleged he planned a terrorist attack, including a plot to murder former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Incedal, 27, a
Turkish-born British citizen, was cleared of preparing acts of
terrorism in a retrial at the Old Bailey. The original trial
caused controversy because it was held mostly in secret.
On September 30, 2013, Incedal’s car was pulled over by police in
west London. The address of a property belonging to Tony Blair
and his wife, Cherie, was found during a search of Incedal’s car.
During the trial, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) claimed
that Incedal was plotting a Mumbai-style attack in the UK.
Police planted a listening device on his car. In a series of
recordings, evidence was gathered suggesting Incedal hated the
police and white people in general. Arrangements to purchase a
gun and ammunition were also recorded, Sky News reports. However,
Incedal later said he planned to carry out an armed robbery with
The jury deliberated for more than 27 hours before delivering a
“not guilty” verdict against Incedal. He broke down in
tears when the verdict was given.
Despite having now been cleared of planning a terrorist attack,
he was found guilty of possessing bomb-making instructions at his
first trial in November 2014. At his retrial, the jury claimed he
had a “good excuse” for possessing a bomb-making manual.
He will be sentenced Wednesday alongside co-defendant Mounir
Rarmoul-Bouhadjar, also 27, who had earlier pleaded guilty to
having an identical manual.
The case had unprecedented levels of secrecy and most of the
trial had been held behind closed doors. The details of the
accusation can still not be reported, but will come under review
Media lawyers argued that an entirely secret trial would set a
dangerous precedent and went against the principle of open
justice. Therefore, three Appeal Court judges allowed a small
group of journalists to listen to parts of the trial and carry
out some limited reporting.