Law student cleared of planning terror attack after secret trial

A law student has been found not guilty of planning a terrorist attack

27-year-old Erol Incedal, of South London, was cleared in a trial at the Old Bailey after the jury deliberated for 27 hours.

Incedal was originally arrested in October 2013 and convicted of possessing a bomb-making manual on a memory card in an original trial in 2014. On that occasion the jury failed to agree a verdict on the second charge of plotting a terrorist attack and hence a retrial took place.

However, much of the trial was held in secret, and full details of the accusation cannot be published. The only fact that have been revealed as to the nature of the alleged plot was that the address of a property belonging to Tony and Cherie Blair was discovered in Incedal’s car.

The passing of the Justice and Security Act in 2013 expanded the potential for secret trials, and has met with much opposition. While this trial was initially due to be the first heard entirely in secret, media organisations launched a challenge and the Court of Appeal subsequently ordered a compromise in which 10 selected journalists were allowed to attend; however, they cannot report on what they hear.

Nor can the reasons for the secrecy of the trial be reported, apart from the appeal court’s judgment that “from time to time, tensions between the open justice principle and national security will be inevitable”.

Incedal will be sentenced for the crime for which he was originally convicted next Wednesday.