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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 11:48 GMT
Hamza jurors 'must stay focused'
Abu Hamza
Mr Abu Hamza is on trial at London's Old Bailey
The jury in the trial of Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has been warned not to get "sidetracked" by a general debate about free speech.

Before jurors began considering verdicts for a fourth day, they were told to ignore the row over cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.

The judge had sent the jury home for a day on Monday after a juror fell ill.

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

You are interested in this defendant and this defendant alone
Mr Justice Hughes

In the light of the weekend's events, jurors should not "get into a debate about when free speech ought to be tolerated or restrained", Mr Justice Hughes said on Tuesday.

"You are interested in this defendant and this defendant alone."

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 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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