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Last Updated: Monday, 14 July, 2003, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
Cleric's son 'broke into mosque'
Sheikh Abu Hamza
Sheikh Abu Hamza is banned from the mosque
The son of Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has appeared in court charged with conspiracy to burgle and cause criminal damage at the mosque where his father used to preach.

Mohammed Kamel, 21, of west London, and three others tried to break into the Finsbury Park mosque in north London in February, a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court was told.

Mr Kamel, Mustafa Abdullah, 21, of south London, Abdullah Merchant, 26, of north London, and a 16-year-old who cannot be identified for legal reasons, all deny the charge.

Mr Abdullah and Mr Merchant also deny assaulting Pc Andrew Reeder and Sergeant Dan Wright.

Police went to the mosque just after 2145 BST on 11 February this year after a member of the public spotted a group of men scaling the wall, Andrew Campbell, prosecuting, told the jury.

The only sensible conclusion you can come to for them trying to break in is that they would try to steal once they got in or intended to cause damage
Prosecutor Andrew Campbell
The mosque was shut at the time for health and safety reasons, and was secured by railings and padlocked metal grilles at the windows and doors.

The officers who arrested the four men recovered two screwdrivers, a torch, bolt cutters, two ratchets, a balaclava and a number of screws which had been removed from a metal grille.

"These four men had taken the trouble of getting hold of the necessary tools in order to break in," Mr Campbell told the jury.

"The only sensible conclusion you can come to for them trying to break in is that they would try to steal once they got in or intended to cause damage."

The court was told Mr Abdullah punched Pc Andrew Reeder in the face and Mr Merchant head-butted Sergeant Dan Wright as the officers struggled to handcuff them.

'Lashed out'

At one point, Mr Campbell said, Mr Abdullah became "aggressive" and told Mr Reeder "he would do him".

Mr Campbell continued: "Mr Reeder, perhaps unwisely, said 'now would be a good time'."

Mr Abdullah "broke away" and then lashed out at Mr Reeder as he was trying to hold him back, he told the court.

The officer was knocked to the ground, taking Mr Abdullah and another officer with him.

'Police provocation'

Sergeant Wright was head-butted by Mr Merchant when he came to help in the struggle, Mr Campbell said.

The men claim they were the victims of police brutality.

Brendan Keany, defending Mr Abdullah, told the court that Pc Reeder and Sergeant Wright had behaved "in a disgraceful way" that night.

He said they tried to provoke Mr Abdullah and when he did not rise to the bait he was "knocked to the ground".

The trial continues.




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