Trial of Maidenhead man accused of encouraging support for Islamic State nears conclusion

Grace Witherden


Closing arguments were heard in the trial of an alleged terrorist sympathiser from Maidenhead at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

Mohammed Choudry, 22, of Laggan Road, faced the court in London alongside four other men for the trial, which began on Thursday, June 7.

He is accused of making a speech in Luton on July 2 last year in which he allegedly encouraged support for Islamic State.

Earlier in the trial, prosecutor Sean Larkin QC read a transcript from Choudry’s speech.

Mr Larkin alleged Choudry had compared the rise of Islamic State to an inescapable wave.

“We need to understand the wave is coming,” the transcript read.

“Are we going to be the ones who are going to surf on that, or drown?”

On Tuesday Patrick O’Connor QC, defending Choudry, spoke to the jury about his ‘good character’, his speech and the evidence.

He said: “I will give context which makes it extraordinary unlikely he was encouraging support. He is not of the generation of his co-defendants, he is 22, and he is by far the youngest. He doesn’t live in Luton, he is not part of that community.”

Mr O’Connor said the transcript contained 89 inaudible, un-translated gaps and also said there was ‘considerable uncertainty about the accuracy of the transcription’.

Referring to the wave, Mr O’Connor said this could be interpreted as Choudry telling people to be prepared for the hostility and oppression because of ISIS.

Choudry was described as an ‘enterprise wheeler dealer’ who had ‘great success’ at work and was ‘immersed in a capitalised life’ by Mr O’Connor.

He praised his conduct in the trial and said he had been ‘open and frank’.

A total of 11 charges have been made against the five defendants, two of whom cannot be named for legal reasons. The defendants deny all of the charges.

The trial is expected to continue on Tuesday when the judge will sum up for the jury.

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