On that is said and security as one

On Wednesday 6th December 2017, I visited was the
Old Bailey’s Criminal Court, having attended the criminal trial case of Hassan
Mohammed and Rowaida El-Hassan. The
trial has been held at the Old Baileys since mid-October 2017 after making
their first appearance at a Magistrates’ Court, because the case is very
serious and also required a circuit/ high court judge who has a degree in law,
it was sent to the Old Bailey’s and is currently being presented to the Jury
and Judge Topolski. During this case, we had a number of professionals
attending the trial such as; the Barrister George Bott QC who is defending both
Mohammed and El-Hassan; the Prosecutors Anne Whyte QC who is defending the
state; Judge Topolski who will be assessing the case and sentence type if found
guilty in this trial, the court clerk who takes care of all the paper work, the
note taker who takes down everything that is said and security as one of the
parties will be in custody until the end of the trial and the jury who will
determine if they are guilty, it is very important for members of the public
who have been selected to be a jury to attend trial, as it shows that the English
legal system care about what the public think and don’t leave it all in the
hands of legal professionals, this will also prevent the public from going on
strike or riots for example; if there were no jury, and a case a man guilty of
murder wasn’t sentenced fairly, as the public not agreeing they may retaliate,
this way it shows that the public have a say within the English legal system,
also having 12 jury’s prevents there from being a bias result.


The judges are at the centre of any Legal System. At the
head of the Judiciary is the president of the Courts of England and Wales. This
position was created by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. Before that Act was
put in place the Lord Chancellor was head of judiciary. The most senior judges
are the 12 justices who sit at the Supreme Court and Privy Council. At the
Court of Appeal, are 38 judges known as Lords or Lady’s Justice of Appeal. The
Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal is heading over by the Lord Chief Justice.
In this particular case, we have got Judge Topolski who is Circuit / High Court

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“Couple who met on
Muslim dating site SingleMuslim.com plotted a bomb attack and shared gruesome
ISIS beheading videos”. This ISIS terror case has been making headlines all
over the press.  The pair met on an only
dating website called singlemuslim.com, El-Hassan says that she was looking for
‘a man who fears Allah before anything else’. El-Hassan was in a middle of a
divorce with her partner and has two children, she also has a master’s degree
in pharmacy from University College London and it is said that she used her
knowledge of chemicals to help Mohammed create this home-made bomb. There is
clear evidence that shows Mohammed had been watching a lot of ISIS material
online, as his phone got confiscated and looked into, which he then admitted to
accessing a lot of extremist material and ISIS propaganda which he used to
forward to El-Hassan on a regular basis. However, he claims he watched these
ISIS videos out of curiosity because he wanted to know what they, as in being
the ISIS, say about the Islamic religion. There was evidence found by the
counter-terror officers which were released online by The Sun, “Counter-terror
officers found bomb manuals and instructions for ricin and mobile phone
detonators when they raided Mohammed’s Derby home on 12 December last year, it
is said. They also discovered 200ml of Hydrogen Peroxide and 500ml of
Hydrochloric Acid, two of the components needed to make the unstable explosive
triacetone triperoxide (TATP). When another team raided El-Hassan’s home in
Willesden, northwest London, on the same day they found a 1litre bottle of
drain cleaner which contained Sulphuric Acid at 91% purity”


As this criminal trial is very long and complex, I did not
attend the whole case, only when the Prosecutor was giving evidence against
El-Hassan. Prosecutor Anne Whyte made an opening speech where she outlined the
case very briefly and the evidence that she will put forward to support her
case. The burden of proof was given by the
Prosecutor. Most of the evidence brought by the prosecutor were WhatsApp
conversations they had together constantly speaking about the Islamic state and
sharing extremist propaganda material. Although during the evidence, the
defence lawyer would occasionally stand up and interfere while the prosecutor
was asking El-Hassan questions purely as certain questions could have harmed
her case. During the trial Whyte presented her evidence in order and very
clearly, she would ask El-Hassan the same questions in a different wording so
that she could determine El-Hassan would change her story.


Hassan Mohammed and
Rowaida El-Hassan are jointly facing charges with an offense under section 5 of
the Terrorism Act 2006 – preparation of terrorist acts. The Terrorism Act 2006
is an act of the Parliament that received Royal Assent on 30th March 2006,
after being introduced on 12th October 2005. It was drafted after the London
Bombing in July 2005. All statutes begin as a Bill which is a proposal piece of
legislation. There are three types of Bills; Public Bills, Private Members’
Bills and Private Bills. A Bill is a proposed law which is introduced to
Parliament, this is called the first reading. At the second reading, the proposal
is debated and may be amended, the members vote on whether they should proceed.
The Bill is then referred to a committee of the House of Commons for
examination, and further amendments can be made. The committee then report back
and any amendments made will be debated and voted on again. The bill is then
sent back to the House where there will be a short debate and a vote whether to
proceed, this is called the third reading. The bill is then sent to the House
of Lords, where the same process of three readings, the House of Lords can
amend the Bill as well, if they do decide to make an amendment it will get sent
back to the House of Commons for a further review. Once they do that, it gets
sent to the HL and sent to get royal assent. A Bill can go back and forth
between chambers until proceedings are terminated, although HL often accepts
the second offer from HC. However, due to The Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949,
these acts provide a means by which the HC can bypass the HL to present for
Royal Assent without the HL agreeing with the Bill if they reject the Bill
twice. Once it has had Royal Assent it becomes a Law and then its known as an
Act.  Four Acts of Parliament have been
passed relying on the Parliament Act 1949 these Acts are; War Crime Act 1991,
European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999, Sexual Offenders Act 2000, Hunting
Act 2004.


The prosecutor was
presenting her evidence to the jury about El-Hassan by cross examining her.
There were many occasions during the trial when both the Judge Topolski and the
prosecutor Anne Whyte had to tell El-Hassan to stop over answering each
question that was asked, due to the fact it was taking up too much time and it
wasn’t helping her situation with the jury, El-Hassan said that she was trying
to explain to the jury her side although it felt like she was repeating herself
over and over again. Prosecutor Whyte, stated that through the course of the
‘relationship’ with Mohammed, he would constantly send her extremist propaganda
and very graphic videos of the Islamic state beheading people via WhatsApp, and
not once through the messages obtained by the Prosecutor did El-Hassan tell him
to stop sending those graphic messages, she claimed that she didn’t take notice
most of the time to what he would send her. Whyte said that in fact she did
watch some of those video’s and had time to sit through a 30min long graphic
ISIS video, but did not have time to confront him about why he was actually
sending her all of those graphic materials. From an argumentative point of
view, if someone kept sending gruesome Islamic state videos or ISIS propaganda
and the other party was against it, then they would definitely feel
uncomfortable enough to tell them to stop, as they do not agree on what the
Islamic State stands for. For someone who claims they genuinely are against the
Islamic state, portrays herself to have a type of fondness towards them due to
the fact that mostly every conversation the Prosecutor brought up in the cross
examination was about the ISIS and El-Hassan reply would be “we talk about the
ISIS because we are against it, and it is a current issue” or “that was the
topic of our conversation” constantly throughout the three hours of Whyte
coming forward with her evidence to conclude on how they are guilty, near
enough everything time Mohammed and El-Hassan spoke, it was related about to
Islamic State. A point the Prosecutor Whyte mentioned was that, “if you are so
worried about current issues relating to the ISIS, why would you not send it to
your dad? you sent them to Mohammed instead” the defendant El-Hassan said, “I
am in the topic of conversation with him, it is not something I would send to
my dad, I don’t share those things with him” ultimately, she doesn’t help the
situation. If the defendant is so worried about current issues that implicate
her religion, why doesn’t she express her suppose concerns with her family? It
could be because she’s genuinely engaging in the ISIS propaganda? Or she is
possible concerned but due to the evidence that has been presented, it seems
that she’s highly interested in the Islamic State. 


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