Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 14:57 UK

'Prejudice' warning to bomb jury

Woolwich Crown Court
The trial is due to get under way at Woolwich Crown Court on Thursday

A jury trying two doctors accused of attempted car bombings in London and at Glasgow airport should put aside any prejudice or beliefs, a judge has said.

Bilal Abdulla, 29, from Glasgow, and Mohammed Asha, 28, of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs, deny conspiracy to murder and to cause explosions in 2007.

Jury selection has begun at Woolwich Crown Court ahead of the trial's start.

The judge said prosecutors claimed the men were "terrorists motivated by... a fundamental form of Islam".

Hospital doctors

Mr Justice Mackay said, if selected, the jurors must base any decisions solely on the evidence they hear and "not based on any prejudices, beliefs or personal opinions the members of the jury may have".

The judge said the court would hear of attempts to explode two car bombs in central London and a suicide bombing attempt at Glasgow airport the following day. A third man, Kafeel Ahmed, died in the Glasgow airport incident, he said.

He told potential jurors that both the defendants were NHS hospital doctors. Mr Abdulla worked at the Royal Alexandra in Paisley, near Glasgow.

Mr Asha worked at Addenbrooke's, Cambridge; Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli; the Royal Shrewsbury; and University Hospital of North Staffordshire.

'Serious task'

The judge said: "It will be the task of the jury which is now to be chosen from among your number to decide whether these charges or any of them are proved.

"It is an important task and a serious task but I also believe that those of you that are selected will find it an interesting case to try."

One of the London cars was found outside Tiger Tiger nightclub in the early hours of 29 June 2007. The second parked in nearby Cockspur Street was towed away to a car pound, where it was later made safe.

A burning Jeep was driven into the main terminal building at Glasgow airport on 30 June.

The prosecution will open its case after the jury is sworn in on Thursday. The trial is expected to last between eight and 10 weeks.



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