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Court of Appeal overturns attempt to hold terrorism trial entirely in secret

The Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) unprecedented attempt to hold a criminal trial wholly in secret has been overturned by the Court of Appeal on 12th June.

Erol Incedal and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar who, prior to the ruling were known as ‘AB’ and ‘CD’, have pleaded not guilty to terrorist charges.  The CPS argued that their application for trial secrecy was necessary in the interests of national security. 

The Court ruled that some parts of the trial will be heard in secret because the trial of the two men was of an exceptional nature.  However, the media and public will be able to attend the swearing in of the jury, parts of the prosecution’s introductory remarks, the verdicts and, if there are convictions, the sentencing.   

One of the three panel judges stated ‘Open justice is both a fundamental principle of the common law and a means of ensuring public confidence in our legal system…Exceptions are rare and must be justified on the facts…No more than the minimum departure from open justice will be countenanced.’

For commentary from the UK Criminal Rights Blog click here.

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Criminal Law