Terror charge man awaits verdict

TERROR suspect Jacques Abi-Ayad was today awaiting his fate while a jury considered its verdict.The 40-year-old illegal immigrant from Ipswich stands accused of terrorism offences and faces up to ten years in prison if found guilty.

TERROR suspect Jacques Abi-Ayad was today awaiting his fate while a jury considered its verdict.

The 40-year-old illegal immigrant from Ipswich stands accused of terrorism offences and faces up to ten years in prison if found guilty.

He is charged under the Terrorism Act of having documents likely to be useful to a person preparing or committing an act of terrorism.

Abi-Ayad, of Gippeswyk Road, denies the charge, but admits possessing documents on how to make explosives from everyday items along with handwritten sketches, newspaper cuttings and notes.

Among them was the Anarchist's Handbook - a guide to making explosives including Molotov cocktail firebombs, which he downloaded from the internet.

Police found the material in a shoebox at an address in Ipswich on April 2 after Abi-Ayad produced false documents when applying for a National Insurance number.

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The French national, of Algerian descent, claims he fled Metz in France, in 2000 after repeatedly stabbing a man he believed was racially abusing his daughter.

He told the Old Bailey he became angry when he learned of being convicted to life imprisonment in his absence and wanted revenge on the injured man.

In an attempt to deal with his revenge motive, he fantasised about making a firebomb but later moved the documents to another address and forgot about them, he added.

The jury of eight women and four men must decide whether the documents were likely to be useful to a person preparing or committing terrorism.

If they believe that to be the case, they must then judge whether Abi-Ayad had a "reasonable excuse" for possessing the documents.

Prosecutor Sean Larkin argued that for whatever reason he had the bomb-making guide, there could be no such reasonable excuse for having it.

But in Abi-Ayad's defence, lawyer Martyn Levett said the Frenchman, of Algerian origin, was the victim of widespread prejudice resulting from the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Mr Levett, whose legal team included Ipswich-based solicitor Dino Barricella, said: "The suspicion and fear that was on the forefront of the minds of the two policemen set alarm bells ringing when they found these documents and called in specialist help from the anti-terrorism branch in London.

"Immediately they had put two and two together and made a very unpleasant five in a case which is so simple in what it says to you – that Abi-Ayad was on the run from France because he stabbed someone.

"When a fugitive is on the run, other events can play a part in the prejudice of a person. It is not a good time to be an Algerian in this country."

Directing the jury, Mr Justice Colman Treacy said: "If revenge was or may have been the reason for possessing the documents you have to decide whether that amounts to a reasonable excuse."

However, Mr Treacy added, if the jury believes Abi-Ayad had annotated the documents and taken notes, they would have to consider very carefully whether this was some daydreaming fantasy or something more sinister than that.

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