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Members of Chambers are frequently instructed for their expertise both to prosecute (including the provision of pre-charge advice) and defend in the most serious and sensitive terrorist cases. Members are also instructed in relation to all terrorism law related applications, from control orders to orders relating to assets.  

As such, Chambers offers Counsel who are experienced and recognised for their ability to deal with the political, religious and cultural issues raised by terror related cases coupled with unquestionable ability to provide expert trial representation at both Silk and Junior level.

Recent Cases

  • R v. Sahayb Abu - [C.C.C.] 2021

    Conviction for man preparing to carry out an IS inspired sword-attack

    Jonathan Polnay, led by John McGuinness QC prosecution Sahayb Abu, the ‘masked menace’ for preparing to carry out a terrorist sword attack.

    News Report.


  • R v. Abdullah [C.C.C.] 2020

    Man who incited German terror cell to commit terrorist atrocities by training them in use of explosives.

    Jonathan Polnay, led by Barnaby Jameson QC, prosecuted Abdullah for assisting another to prepare an act of terrorism. He incited a terror cell, based in Germany, to commit terrorist atrocities that would have caused mass fatalities. His encouragement was not limited to words. He researched, obtained and tested explosives in order to teach the German cell to carry out the terrorist attacks to maximum effect.

    BBC News report. 

  • Operation Dowl [C.C.C.] 2018

    Suicide Terror Plot to Kill the Prime Minister

    Mark Heywood QC represented the Crown in this case involving the plot by two individuals to kill the Prime Minister. The plan was to detonate a bomb at the gates of Downing Street and then kill Theresa May with a knife or gun. 

    BBC report here.

  • R v. Abdallah [C.C.C.] 2017

    Prosecution of British man who traveled to Syria to join so-called Islamic State

    Mark Heywood QC acted for the Crown in this prosecution of a British man who was jailed for possession of an AK47 gun, receiving £2000 for the purposes of terrorism and membership of ISIS.

    BBC report here

    Guardian report here.

  • R v. Aziz & ors [C.C.C] 2017

    Three Musketeers Terror Trial

    Rishi Nathwani led by Kieran Vaughan QC, instructed by Tuckers represented 1 of the 4 Defendants in the unprecedented Three Musketeers Terror Trial that lasted 5 months at the Old Bailey before Mr Justice Globe. There was a significant press interest in this case, that was only the third trial in the history of the UK that was held (in part) in secret (in camera) due to issues of national security. 

    The Defendants had been under surveillance and subject to an undercover operation by the West Midland Counter Terrorist Special Projects Team, who ran a covert operation from a Courier Company. When the MI5 were fitting a listening device in a co-defendant’s car, a search revealed a bag with a pipe bomb, imitation firearm, live ammunition and a hatchet with “Kafir” scratched into it. It was the Defence case that these items had been planted by the Under Cover Officer given the previous terror convictions of some of the Defendants. 

    The trial process threw up a number of complex and significant legal issues, which included:

    • Secret/in camera evidence
    • Anonymous Witnesses
    • British Secret Service (MI5) Evidence that was not contained to NCND
    • PII/Disclosure which resulted in the service of the personal phones of several Under Cover Operatives who it was alleged had planted a pipe bomb to frame the Defendants, some of whom were known to the police/MI5
    • Jury irregularities including a juror making it plain that she fancied the Officer in the case (who the Defence suggested was corrupt) and another juror making enquiries as to his relationship status. 
    • Bad Character
    • Extreme Islamic ideology
    • Low Copy DNA evidence
    • Legal argument relating to prejudice/bias as a result of the 4 terror attacks that occurred during the trial (Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park)

Notable Cases

  • R. v. G; R. v. J [2009] UKHL 13; Archbold 2013: 25-67 2009

    Use of Articles for purposes of Terrorism

    Mark Heywood QC leading Ben Temple for the Prosecution at first instance, the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords where David Perry QC was also instructed.

    J was found to be in possession of an extensive library of religious, political, ideological, military and extreme Islamist material some of which had an express terrorist purpose, digitally stored on his laptop, I-Pod, telephone and numerous digital disks comprising several hundred hours of audio and video material and several thousand pages of documentation.   J was charged with possessing articles for a purpose connected with terrorism, contrary to section 57(1) of the Terrorism Act 2000.  J pleaded guilty to four counts contrary to section 58 of the Act.  The Court of Appeal then handed down judgment in R. v. K [2008] EWCA Crim.185 on the point of reasonable excuse under section 58(3).  J, having applied successfully to vacate his pleas, claiming erroneous legal advice in the light of R. v. K, re-entered not guilty pleas at a preparatory hearing in the course of which the Recorder of Birmingham, regarding himself bound by R. v. K, ruled on a question of law formulated by the Crown that, by reference to R. v. K, under section 58 where a reasonable excuse is raised the prosecution must prove a terrorist purpose.

    Leave to appeal to the House of Lords was granted.  The three certified questions raised substantial, complex issues.  The concept of reasonable excuse had to be considered across numerous statutory contexts.  The Crown’s appeals (G and J) were allowed and J, a year after he had first done so, pleaded guilty to four offences contrary to section 58.

  • Operation Seagram [Woolwich] 2008

    Planned Car Bomb attacks

    Mark Heywood QC along with Jonathan Laidlaw QC conducted the prosecution of 2 NHS Doctors for conspiracy to murder by planning car bomb attacks in 2007 at London's West End Tiger Tiger Nightclub and at the Glasgow International Airport.

    BBC news report here.

  • Operation Crevice [C.C.C.] 2007

    'Fertiliser' Bomb Plot

    Mark Heywood QC along with David Walters QC and Duncan Atkinson prosecuted the longest running Old Bailey trial which concerned the "Fertiliser Bomb Plot" and conspiracies to cause explosions throughout the U.K.

    BBC news report here