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Last Updated: Friday, 2 February 2007, 17:59 GMT
Bomb accused 'a bit of an idiot'
Anthony Garcia
Anthony Garcia was "not exactly the Brain of Britain"
A man accused of conspiring to bomb the UK was unlikely to be involved in such a plot, an Old Bailey jury has heard.

Anthony Garcia, accused of planning to set off a fertiliser bomb, did not have a "hint of hate" about him, Matthew Ryder, defending, said.

Rather than being a "controlling mind", as the prosecution described him, he was in fact "a bit of an idiot" and "not exactly the Brain of Britain".

Mr Garcia and six other men deny conspiring to cause explosions.

They were arrested after 600kg of fertiliser was found at a storage depot in Hanwell, west London, in March 2004.

The court was told Garcia had not returned from Pakistan in 2003 to take part in any conspiracy to attack the UK and he was clearly kept in the dark about what was going on by the alleged ringleader, Omar Khyam.

'Lack of detail'

Mr Ryder also criticised the lack of detail in the prosecution's case against Mr Garcia.

He said it amounted to "he went to Pakistan, he helped with the ammonium nitrate, and that is all that the prosecution want you to think about".

Police in west London
Police found 600kg of ammonium nitrate in a west London lock-up

Mr Ryder said merely assisting someone was not enough to make Mr Garcia part of the conspiracy - he had to know what they planned. Suspicion was not enough, he said.

The prosecution had mistakenly accused Mr Garcia of knowing the fertiliser was going to be stored in west London, said Mr Ryder.

In fact it was Omar Khyam who had told the person selling the fertiliser where it was being delivered to.

The prosecution had also failed to show the jury a diary kept by Anthony Garcia during his time in Pakistan, even though it covered important parts of their case.

"The Crown don't want you to think about Anthony Garcia the person," said Mr Ryder.

"I hope you understand what I mean when I say he is a person, in a nutshell, you may think is a bit of an idiot," said Mr Ryder.

'Simple'

He said: "He's not exactly Brain of Britain, but is quite a straight-forward person.

"He did not try to be clever in his evidence. He is quite simple and I hope you will see he did his best to tell the truth even when it was uncomfortable or embarrassing."

He is not a bitter person. He's not negative. There is no hint of the hate or alienated rage fanatics seem to have
Matthew Ryder

He added: "He is not a bitter person. He's not negative. There is no hint of the hate or alienated rage fanatics seem to have.

"The element of intolerance, outrage, anger, that you would need to do what he is accused of is not part of his personality".

All seven defendants deny charges of conspiracy to cause explosions and four deny possession of an article for terrorist purposes.

Omar Khyam, 24; his brother Shujah Mahmood, 19; Waheed Mahmood, 34; and Jawad Akbar, 23, all from Crawley, Sussex; Salahuddin Amin, 31, from Luton, Bedfordshire; Anthony Garcia, 24, of Barkingside, east London; and Nabeel Hussain, 21, of Horley, Surrey, deny conspiring to cause explosions likely to endanger life between January 1, 2003 and March 31, 2004.

Mr Khyam, Mr Garcia and Mr Hussain deny a further charge under the Terrorism Act of possessing 1,300lb (600kg) of ammonium nitrate fertiliser for terrorism.

Mr Khyam and Mr Mahmood also deny possessing aluminium powder for terrorism.

The trial continues.




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