Page last updated at 13:16 GMT, Friday, 14 December 2007

Control order man 'in nightmare'

By Dominic Casciani
BBC News

Cerie Bullivant
Cerie Bullivant would not tell the court where he absconded to.

The first man to be acquitted over breaching a terrorism control order says he is in a "new nightmare" hours after walking free from court.

Cerie Bullivant, 25, of Dagenham, Essex, told the BBC he was "truly grateful" to the jury who found him not guilty of breaching the order.

However, the home secretary imposed a new order on him after the case ended.

He is under a curfew, must wear an electronic tag and is banned from speaking to certain individuals.

The mental health nurse went missing earlier in the year with two other men, also on control orders.

Those men were brothers of a convicted terrorist and they remain on the run.

I'm truly grateful for the integrity and commonsense of the jury
Cerie Bullivant

During his trial for breaching his control order, Mr Bullivant told the court that he was not a terrorist - and that the conditions imposed on him by the Home Secretary were destroying his life.

While he admitted that he had absconded for a month before turning himself in, he said he had reasonable excuse to do so.

However, he refused to say where he had been or anything about the whereabouts of the two other men, Lamine and Ibrahim Adam.

The jury acquitted him on all charges.

But as soon as the nurse was cleared, the Home Secretary issued a new control order.

Speaking to the BBC on Friday, Mr Bullivant said that he wanted to put his life back together - but faced greater uncertainty.

"I'm truly grateful for the integrity and commonsense of the jury," said Mr Bullivant.

"But I'm now facing a new nightmare continuing into the future."

Security job ban

Under the control order, Mr Bullivant is not allowed to speak to certain inmates at Belmarsh prison.

The BBC understands he has also been banned from working for the London Underground or in a security industry post.

He is also required to gain official approval for any training or educational course.

The full grounds for the control order are secret and based on intelligence submissions made in closed evidence.

Gareth Peirce, solicitor for Mr Bullivant, said her client was trapped in an increasingly "Kafkaesque" world between the decisions of a jury to acquit and the actions of the Home Office.

Home Office criticised

Mr Bullivant's new control order will be reviewed in the High Court in January alongside his ongoing appeal against the original restrictions.

At a prelimary hearing on Friday, Mr Justice Collins said there may be "strong arguments" that the new control order's conditions were oppressive and could lead to further breaches.

But the judge also criticised Home Office officials for saying they were "surprised and disappointed" with the jury's verdict.

"We get rather a lot of that, not only from officials but also sometimes from ministers," he said. "But equally the public may be concerned by the verdict.

"I am bound to say it is unfortunate these comments were made. Perhaps I say that because I have suffered from ministers in my time."

"We have a system that relies on trial by jury and verdicts should be accepted. This sort of comment should be very carefully considered, and is probably inappropriate."

Print Sponsor

Profile: Cerie Bullivant
13 Dec 07 |  UK
Q&A: Control orders
01 Feb 10 |  UK

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