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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 March 2007, 17:18 GMT
Prejudice warning for bomb jury
Clockwise (from top left): Jawad Akbar, Omar Khyam, Shujah Mahmood, Waheed Mahmood, Anthony Garcia, Salahuddin Amin.
The defendants deny there was a plot to cause explosions
The jury at the fertiliser bomb plot trial have been urged to ignore prejudice when considering their verdict in the case.

Summing up at the end of the year-long Old Bailey trial, the judge, Sir Michael Astill, said they must ignore world events and news reports.

Seven men deny conspiring to cause explosions likely to endanger life.

The defendants were arrested after 600kg of chemical fertiliser was found in a storage depot in London in 2004.

The prosecution claims they were involved in a plot to bomb targets including the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London and the gas and electricity network.

The judge told them: "There has been a great deal of publicity about the threat to the United Kingdom and other parts of the world from terrorism activity.

Mr Justice Astill
Do not leave your common sense and experience and knowledge of the world behind you when you make your decision. However do not let it prejudice your thoughts
Sir Michael Astill

"That is to be expected because terrorism has potential consequences for the lives of us all.

"Do not leave your common sense and experience and knowledge of the world behind you when you make your decision. However do not let it prejudice your thoughts," he warned.

Referring to the length of the trial, the judge said: "You must wonder why you have to sit and listen to a summing up when you have heard evidence over one year and beyond and weeks and weeks of counsels' speeches."

But he said it was his role to sum up the evidence from an objective and neutral point of view.

'You are the judges'

He said submissions from lawyers were naturally partisan, urging the jury to accept or reject evidence in favour of the case they were advancing.

"You and you alone are the judges of the evidence. You and you alone decide who and what you believe," he told them.

Omar Khyam, 26, his brother Shujah Mahmood, 20, Waheed Mahmood, 34, and Jawad Akbar, 23, all from Crawley, West Sussex; Anthony Garcia, 25, of Barkingside, east London; Nabeel Hussain, 21, of Horley, Surrey; and Salahuddin Amin, 31, of Luton, Bedfordshire, deny conspiring to cause explosions likely to endanger life between January 1 2003 and March 31 2004.

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

Mr Khyam and Shujah Mahmood further deny possessing aluminium powder for terrorism.


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