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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 18:33 GMT
Hamza 'is not on trial for views'
Abu Hamza
Mr Abu Hamza is on trial at London's Old Bailey
Alleged race hate cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri is not on trial for his political views, a judge has warned.

Starting his summing up, Mr Justice Hughes said Mr Abu Hamza's views were only relevant in deciding if they led him to commit the charges he faced.

He told the Old Bailey jury: "It is not an offence to suggest western societies are corrupt or have no moral basis".

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

In his summing up the judge said: "It is not an offence to describe living in England as a toilet".

'Eye on ball'

He also told the jury to "Keep an eye on the ball" regarding Mr Hamza's views.

"Exercise a similar restraint and caution about his views generally. Confine your inquiries to whether or not he has committed the offences on which he is charged," he said.

He said jurors may object to the views expressed in Mr Hamza's speeches, which formed the basis of the prosecution's case against him.

It is not an offence to describe living in England as a toilet
Mr Justice Hughes

But they should put aside any personal views they might hold about democracy, western societies, and the place of women.

Mr Justice Hughes also warned the jury to ignore anything that may have been said about the defendant in the media, both before and during his trial.

The trial at London's Old Bailey was adjourned until Tuesday.

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".




SEE ALSO:
Timeline: Hamza trial
24 Jan 06 |  UK



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