UK: Secret Terror Trial Will be Held Partially in Public

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The Court of Appeal in the Royal Courts of Justice (c) Graham Turner/The Guardian

Following the decision of the Court of Appeal delivered today, the secret terror trial of defendants AB and CD will be held in public.

The order was initially made by Mr Justice Nicol to grant the defendants anonymity and to exclude the public from the entirety of the trial. The Crown Prosecution Service had requested the unprecedented closed proceedings on the grounds that the case involved national security considerations.

In today’s ruling, the Court of Appeal lifted the anonymity order and identified the defendants asĀ Erol Incedal (AB) and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar (CD). Both defendants are charged with possession of bomb making instructions; Incedal is further charged with preparing acts of terrorism, Rarmoul-Bouhadjar is further charged with an offence under the Identity Documents Act.

The Court also ordered that parts of the trial could be heard in public, including the swearing in of the jury, reading of the charges to the jury, and parts of the judge’s introductory remarks and of the Prosecution opening speech. In addition, a few accredited journalists will be entitled to hear the entirety of the proceedings, with the exception of a few very sensitive parts.

Lord Justice Gross expressed “concern” at the effect that holding the trial entirely in camera and granting the defendants anonymity would have on the fundamental principle of open justice. He did, however, state that the case was an “exceptional” one:

” We are persuaded on the evidence before us that there is a significant risk – at the very least a serious possibility – that the administration of justice would be frustrated were the trial to be conducted in open court … In our judgment, as a matter of necessity, the core of the trial must be heard in camera.”

The trial is set to commence on 16 June at the Old Bailey.