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Abu Hamza's US terror trial today heard that the Muslim preacher formerly worked for MI5 and co-managed a strip club in London's Soho.
Hamza's lawyer produced documents apparently from Scotland Yard that he said showed the radical cleric worked as an intermediary for the UK spy agency and had helped police defuse tensions with the Muslim community in Britain.
Hamza also told the New York court he had run a strip club in central London's party district after coming to the capital in the 1980s to "make money and enjoy myself", adding that some of the employment he gained was "on the wrong side of morality".
Hamza was extradited from the UK to America two years ago to face a string of terrorism charges, which he denies.
Wandsworth had a touch of Washington about it today as the Star Spangled Banner filled the air. It was part of a ceremony to mark the beginning of the construction of the new American Embassy in South London.
Scheduled for completion in 4 years time, the £650 million building will feature state of the art security and house 1,000 staff. Joanna Simpson reports.
A special ceremony marked the start of construction of the new American Embassy in South London today. Scheduled for completion in 4 years time, the 650 million pound building will feature state of the art security and house 1,000 staff.
English Defence League (EDL) leader Stephen Lennon, 30, pleaded guilty to possession of a false identity document with improper intention, contrary to the Identity Documents Act 2010, at Southwark Crown Court.
Lennon used a passport in the name of Andrew McMaster to board a Virgin Atlantic Flight from Heathrow to New York, but was caught out after his fingerprints were taken by customs officials.
He left the airport and entered the US illegally but left the country the following day, using his own passport to return to the UK.
The United States has expressed its disappointment in the decision taken by the CPS not to prosecute Gary McKinnon. The US Embassy in London released a statement saying:
The United States was disappointed by the UK Home Secretary’s decision not to extradite Gary McKinnon, particularly in light of the UK courts’ and prior Home Secretaries’ decisions that he should face trial in the United States.
We note that the Home Secretary acknowledged the seriousness of the crimes of which Mr. McKinnon is accused, and described this case as exceptional, indicating that her decision does not set a precedent for future cases.
The Director of Public Prosecutions and the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service released a joint statement explaining their decision not to take further action against Gary McKinnon.
They identified a number of reasons why pursuing a prosecution would not be in the public interest:
- Gary McKinnon is was originally supposed to be tried in the US; in October 2012, when the Home Secretary decided not to extradite him, there was no live criminal investigation against him in the UK, nor had there been for many years
- As far as building a case against McKinnon in the UK was concerned, "the harm occurred in the US", the investigation was launched in the US, most of the witnesses are in the US and nearly all the physical evidence is in the US
- US authorities, though willing to co-operate with a prosecution, would not agree transfer witnesses or evidence to the UK
- The "prospect of a conviction in the UK which reflects the full extent of his alleged criminality are not high"
The Crown Prosecution Service have declared their decision not to prosecute Gary McKinnon in the UK.
They state that the appropriate jurisdiction would be the United States, which is an interesting decision bearing in mind Mr McKinnon was originally arrested and interviewed by British police in 2002.
Mr McKinnon has always indicated that he would be willing to plead guilty to an offence under the Misuse of Computers Act but clearly cannot do so if he is not going to be prosecuted.
Mr McKinnon's legal team remains aware that his extradition warrant is still outstanding and will seek to explore other ways in which Mr McKinnon can receive complete closure on this long saga.