Monday, April 14, 2008

Off to Kingston for day 2 of the trial

...the prosecution's opening speech continues so I will report back when I return, which won't be 'til late afternoon/early evening.

UPDATE: The morning consisted of Neil Flewitt ( Prosecution) going through mobile phone data relating to the three defendant's trip to London on 16-17 December in the company of Hasib Hussein, who went on to bomb the number 30 bus and kill 13 people, plus himself on 7/7/05. The prosecution explained that 'due to the passage of time we don't have complete records' ( or CCTV) to present, and that 'mobile phone network cell site analysis can't pin point the exact location where calls where made'. However it is a 'useful tool' and an expert witness and a police analyst had provided data (maps and tables) to show the jury.

Later on we were told of evidence concerning the DNA of the defendants which was found at the bomb factory, the nature of the bombs used on 7/7. We watched CCTV of three of the 7/7 bombers doing a four-hour reconnaissance trip on 28 Jne 2005, less than a week before the bombings.

The Times , Telegraph, BBC and Express have covered this part of the trial and saved me the work. I will note without comment what the defence said after the prosecution opening speech ended ended. (I only comment on things which are not disputed and I only report on what was said in court. And if you want to comment, please be aware of the usual contempt of court laws - otherwise I will have to start moderating comments.)

Mr Wolfkind said about Waheed Ali that he was '24, Muslim, not guilty', that he 'didn't set off the 7/7 bombs, enter the bomb factory, touch, carry, handle or see a device'. He made 'an innocent visit' went on a 'small adventure' to London to see tourist attractions and his sister. 7th July was the 'awful background' to the trial and he acknowledged the 'deaths and devastated lives', but said to the jury that they were not called to make judgment on that day and the 'terrible films'
[ i.e: the CCTV of the explosions and the bombers final journey to London] we had seen were 'not relevant to this case'. He said the prosecution had 'gathered up political opinions, books, activities far away from London'. That this was not a 'popularity contest' and whilst the jury might feel 'hostile' to some of the CPS discoveries, the prosecution are selling... make-believe'. 'Mindset is a substitute for absent evidence' and 'only plotting to cause explosions equals guilt. The jury were urged to 'ignore the noise of easy prejudice and listen for the evidence....Listen carefully - you won't hear a sound'

Mt Hall (representing Sadir Saleem) said that the case was 'not about guilt by association.' 'Association is one thing, association with the plan to bomb London is different'. Because the 7/7 bombings were suicide attacks they 'led to no prosecutions' and there was 'pressure on the authorities to bring someone to trial.' After the 7/7 bombings, Tony Blair had said that 'the rules of the game had changed'.
'Anyone close to the bombers was a potential suspect.' This had had a 'significant impact on Muslims - and Beeston' There had been lots of arrests, raids, searches, theorising about who knew of the plot'. It was 'common ground' that the defendants were known to the 4 bombers. They came from a 'tightly knit community' - the 'same schools, mosques... families knew each other'. The defendants 'participated in political views, especially regarding Iraq' which 'some of you may disagree with or find offensive' The defendants were 'not on trial for being the bombers friends or associates' and their 'views on Iraq' were 'miles away from evidence regarding the London bombs'.

He said that a visit eight months before the bombings couldn't be reconnaissance'. He said (of the London bombers) that 'four men bent on carnage, determined to kill, to make bombs - had they any need of these men ( the defendants) to tell them tube trains are crowded?' [and that many people could be killed at rush hour] And of Sadir Saleem - he queried whether he was 'the calibre of man anyone would choose for a bombing campaign'

Mr Bennathan talked about evidence [re.7/7 ie the CCTV] being like a magicians 'sleight of hand' - a distraction, then said the prosecution were not trying to trick the jury - the 'evidence[of 7/7's atrocities] can distract all of us. He queried whether his client Shakeel was still close to Mohammed Sidique Khan in December 2004 ( Khan and Tanweer were by then in Pakistan, having flown out on November 18th 2004). He said that his client had attended a camp in Pakistan which was 'the opposite' of the 'big training camps' that people may have heard about on the news - that he spent 'two days in tents' in the 'beautiful countryside', attended Islamic lectures and 'at the end they got to go into a field and fire guns'. Regarding books and literature that the CPS say his client may have 'touched', he commented that 'young Muslims in West Yorkshire' were 'reading about the war on terror' and wanted to read about 'both sides'. 'Does his reading change an innocent rip into a guilty one?' Bennathan queried, adding concerns about whether Hasib Hussein was recruited in February 2005 to be a suicide bomber[MSK and Tanweer returned from Pakistan in February 2005] and raised the point that he had rung the college he was attending to make excuses for no-attendance on the day of the alleged reconnaissance trip to London in December 2004

Like I said - no comment.

update 2: some extra added. I have to work today and tomorrow so will not be back watching the trial until Thursday.



Blogger DAVE BONES said...

Bennathan defended Hamid. Are you in the public gallery? Are you allowed to write notes?

April 15, 2008 1:16 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

I was in an annexe. I can take notes of what was said in open court to the jury, but obviously I can only do that. Have added a bit more.

April 15, 2008 9:00 am  
Blogger DAVE BONES said...

Great stuff. Much better than my slalem stuff from Belmarsh but I can't write notes upstairs. One thing I've noticed from all these trials is that the Police don't seem to be able to intercept mobile phone conversations though they can track them from their signal. That surprises me.

April 15, 2008 8:24 pm  

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