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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 July, 2005, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Police murderer appeal dismissed
Kamel Bourgass
Kamel Bourgass was jailed for life in June 2004
Algerian al-Qaeda suspect Kamel Bourgass has failed in his appeal against a conviction for murdering a Special Branch detective.

Bourgass, 31, was jailed for life in 2004 for stabbing Det Con Stephen Oake during a 2003 raid in Manchester.

He was also convicted earlier this year of taking part in a ricin poison plot, although none of the toxin was found.

His lawyers argued at his appeal in May that his trial was prejudiced because the jury was told of the ricin plot.

In our judgment the ricin material was directly relevant to the issues being decided by the jury
Lord Justice Judge

Lord Justice Judge, sitting with Mr Justice Newman, told Bourgass, who appeared by video link: "This appeal is dismissed."

Lord Justice Judge said details about the alleged ricin plot explained to the jury why Bourgass might have wanted to avoid arrest, and not as he claimed, acted in self-defence.

Without it, the jury would not have been able to make a decision as to why Bourgass had decided to "take on" a large number of police officers.

In a written judgment, Lord Justice Judge said: "In our judgment the ricin material was directly relevant to the issues being decided by the jury, enabling them to consider evidence rather than indulge in what would have been uninformed speculation about why the appellant behaved in the desperate fashion he did."

The fact that it "served to make a strong case stronger" did not mean it was inadmissible.

Life sentence

But Bourgass' solicitor, Julian Groombridge, said his client was "disappointed with the decision and the reasoning" of the judgement and would not accept it.

He maintained his right to a fair trial was "substantially compromised" and said the legal team would be exploring other avenues of appeal.

The Manchester raid followed an operation by anti-terrorist squad officers on a suspected chemical weapons laboratory at a flat in Wood Green, north London, in January 2003.

Bourgass was visiting a friend's flat in Crumpsall when it was raided by police and stabbed three other officers as well as wounding Det Con Oake eight times.

Charges dropped

In June 2004 Bourgass was told he must serve at least 20 years behind bars for the frenzied attack.

Ten months later, he was brought to court again, to face charges of plotting to spread ricin and other poisons on the streets of Britain, along with four other men.

Bourgass, a failed asylum-seeker, was convicted of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance by the use of poisons and/or explosives to cause disruption, fear or injury.

The jury was discharged after failing to reach a verdict on a second count - conspiracy to commit murder.

He was sentenced to 17 years in jail.

Four other alleged plotters were cleared and charges dropped against a further four men who had been due to face a separate trial in connection with the matter.


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