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Last Updated: Monday, 30 January 2006, 14:19 GMT
Hamza judge rules out conspiracy
Abu Hamza
Mr Abu Hamza denies he intended to incite murder
The judge in the trial of alleged race hate cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has dismissed conspiracy theories after he was burgled over the weekend.

Mr Justice Hughes told the jury at the Old Bailey trial to forget newspaper reports about the incident.

Mr Abu Hamza, 47, from west London, denies 15 charges, including soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred.

In its closing speech, the defence said the prosecution had not proved that the cleric had incited anyone to murder.

Defence counsel Edward Fitzgerald QC told the jury that the defendant's speeches may appear deeply offensive at times - but offensiveness did not make them a crime.

There is a gulf between what he talks about and what he intends
Defence counsel Edward Fitzgerald QC

"He has told you repeatedly that he never intended to incite murder and the prosecution have not proven any such intention," he said.

"There was a wide gap between what he talked about as theoretically justified in principle and what he was actually asking his audience to do.

"We are dealing with generalisation with religious language and unspecific statements. There is a gulf between what he talks about and what he intends."

Mr Fitzgerald said Mr Abu Hamza had been constantly monitored by the police and security services.

"If he was intending inciting murder, why was he willingly talking to police and MI5 at the same time?"

'Burglaries happen'

At the start of Monday's proceedings Mr Justice Hughes told the jury the burglary of his London home had nothing to do with the trial.

"Burglaries happen. There is absolutely no reason to suppose it is remotely connected with this case," he said.

Nothing had gone which had any bearing on it. His working papers had been with him throughout the weekend, he continued.

"You must not even begin to think conspiracy theories."

Police are continuing to investigate the theft of a laptop computer from the judge's London home on Friday night.

They are seeking two men, aged around 18, who were seen riding pedal cycles.

Mr Justice Hughes was at his country home in Worcestershire.

Charges faced

Mr Abu Hamza faces nine charges under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, which allege that he solicited others at public meetings to murder Jews and other non-Muslims.

He faces four other charges under the Public Order Act 1986 of "using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with the intention of stirring up racial hatred".

A further charge claims the defendant was in possession of video and audio recordings which he intended to distribute to stir up racial hatred.

The final charge, under section 58 of the Terrorism Act, accuses him of possessing the Encyclopaedia of the Afghani Jihad, which, it is claimed, contained information "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

Timeline: Hamza trial
24 Jan 06 |  UK


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