CPS Press Release : CPS response to Samina Malik appeal: “CPS response to Samina Malik appeal
17 June 2008
The Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to seek a retrial in the case of Samina Malik after the Court of Appeal quashed her conviction for collecting information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
Sue Hemming, Head of the Crown Prosecution Service’s Counter Terrorism Division, said: ‘Since Ms Malik’s conviction, the law has been clarified by the Court of Appeal. The result is that some of the 21 documents we relied on in Ms Malik’s trial would no longer be held capable of giving practical assistance to terrorists.
‘However other documents in her possession, including ‘the al-Qaida Manual’, ‘the Terrorist’s Handbook’, ‘the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook’ and several military manuals, clearly retain that potential.. We therefore have no doubt that it was right to bring this prosecution.
‘Nevertheless, taking into account the time Ms Malik spent on remand before her first trial, and the likely non-custodial sentence she would receive upon conviction in a retrial, we have decided not to seek a retrial on those manuals.
‘Ms Malik was not prosecuted for her poetry. She was prosecuted for possessing documents that could provide practical assistance to terrorists. Furthermore she was prosecuted after, working airside at Heathrow, she had supplied information about airport security procedures to Sohail Qureshi.
‘That very day he was arrested trying to board a flight to Pakistan carrying equipment he admitted he was taking to terrorists in Pakistan. He later admitted he was going there to fight himself and he pleaded guilty to a terrorist offence.’
Notes to Editors
1. A Court of Appeal decision in February 2008 in the case of R v K clarified the meaning of Sec 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The court ruled that an offence would be committed only if the document or record concerned was of a kind that was likely to provide practical assistance to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. A document that simply encouraged the commission of acts of terrorism was not sufficient.
2. In November 2007, Ms Malik was found not guilty at the Old Bailey of an offence under Sec 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (possession of an article for terrorist purposes) but guilty of an offence under Sec 58. Sec 58 says: A person commits an offence if – (a) he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or (b) he possesses a document or record containing information of that kind. The maximum sentence at Crown Court is 10 years.”