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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
'Dirty bomb' man's sentence cut
Dhiren Barot
Barot admitted plotting attacks in the UK and US
A British al-Qaeda activist who planned atrocities including a "dirty bomb" attack has had his sentence cut.

Dhiren Barot, 34, had been jailed for a minimum of 40 years after admitting to conspiracy to murder.

But this was reduced to 30 years by three Court of Appeal judges headed by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips.

They said the 40-year term was for "the terrorist who has been convicted, after trial, of a serious attempt to commit mass murder by a viable method".

Planning attacks

Lord Philips said that Muslim convert Barot's conspiracy did not amount to an actual attempt, and it was unclear whether his plots would have succeeded and what the consequences of them would have been.

Barot was jailed for a minimum of 40 years by Mr Justice Butterfield at Woolwich Crown Court last November.

He admitted planning attacks in the UK and the US.

The court heard that Barot planned terror acts including limousines packed with explosives and a radioactive "dirty bomb".

Mr Justice Butterfield had called Barot a "determined, dedicated and highly dangerous" person.

The judge added that Barot's "businesslike" plans would have caused carnage on a "colossal and unprecedented scale" if successful.

Barot's lawyers argued during the appeal that he should not have been given what amounted to a "whole life" sentence after pleading guilty to a charge which in other circumstances would have meant a 20 or 30 years fixed term sentence, less remission.

They said that the conspiracy was a long way from being put into effect when the plotters were arrested.

Lord Phillips, sitting with Lord Justice Lathan and Mr Justice Treacy, said expert scientific evidence showed the "exploding limousines" project was superficially attractive although "amateurish".

However, the judges rejected the argument that an indeterminate sentence for the protection of the public, rather than a fixed term one, was not justified.

Lord Phillips said: "A terrorist who is in the grip of idealistic extremism to the extent that, over a prolonged period, he has been plotting to commit murder of innocent citizens is likely to pose a serious risk for an indefinite period if he is not confined."

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