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Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 00:12 GMT 01:12 UK
Charge against 'shoe bomber' dropped
Richard Reid appearing in court on 11 June 2002
Reid (right) is charged with attempted murder

A Federal judge in a court in the United States has thrown out one of the charges against the alleged shoe bomber, Richard Reid.

The accused, a 28-year-old British citizen still faces eight other charges including attempted murder.

Mr Reid was appearing in Boston at a pre-trial hearing on a defence motion to suppress an alleged confession he made after his arrest.

His lawyers argue that it should not be admitted because it was made after he had been given sedatives and they interfered with his ability to make a statement.

Alleged al-Qaeda link

Mr Reid is accused of attempting to blow up an airliner in December 2001 using explosives hidden in his shoes.

The indictment also alleges that he was trained by the al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan.

There were 197 passengers and crew aboard the flight, some of whom overpowered the accused when he allegedly tried to light the explosives.

Mr Reid is also charged with attempting to wreck a mass transportation vehicle - a charge created under the new USA Patriot Act, passed in the wake of the attacks of 11 September.

Question of definition

But the judge has now thrown this out on the grounds that an airliner does not fully meet the definition of a mass transportation vehicle under the new act.

It is a small victory for the defence.

The judge himself pointed out that his decision would have no effect on the possible life sentences Richard Reid would face if convicted of the other charges against him including attempted murder.

The hearing continues.

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The BBC's Justin Webb
"The FBI have revealed proof that at least one other was involved"

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18 Apr 02 | Europe
05 Mar 02 | Americas
28 Dec 01 | UK
25 Jan 02 | Americas
16 Jan 02 | Americas
28 Dec 01 | Americas
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