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Prosecuting Terrorism

Terrorism, race hate, crimes against humanity, war crimes, violent extremism, hijacking and espionage cases are tackled by a specialist team of Crown Prosecutors. The Counter Terrorism Division of the CPS includes highly experienced prosecutors, advocates and caseworkers who work closely with the police to bring offenders to justice.

Find out more about how we prosecute cases of terrorism.

The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

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Convicted terrorist to help authorities - joint CPS and MPS statement


The Crown Prosecution Service can reveal that a UK convicted terrorist has, for the first time, entered into an agreement with the CPS to give evidence in a trial against other alleged terrorists. Strict reporting restrictions on this matter have now been lifted.

Sue Hemming, Head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said the agreement with Saajid Muhammad Badat had not been entered into lightly.

Ms Hemming said: "We considered very carefully the merits of entering into this agreement with a convicted terrorist, and we believe that the administration of justice internationally benefits from such an agreement.

"This trial is the first time a UK convicted terrorist, has agreed, under the terms of our agreement, to give evidence in the United States. This will be in the trial, opening today in New York, of Adis Medunjanin, relating to an alleged al-Qaeda martyrdom plot in New York from 2008-2010.

"Badat has helped with investigations in this country, he continues to co-operate and has agreed to testify in other trials if called upon."

On 29 February 2005, Badat pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy with others to destroy a passenger airliner whilst in flight by igniting a high-explosive device, and on 22 April 2005 he was sentenced to 13 years' imprisonment. This took into account his withdrawal from the plot, his guilty plea and other personal mitigation.

Ms Hemming said: "While in prison he fully co-operated with investigators in the Counter Terrorism Command of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and US law enforcement officers in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and provided information of overwhelming importance in relation to investigations they were conducting.

"In 2009, the CPS entered into an agreement with Badat under Sec 74 of the Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. The provisions of SOCPA have proved to be a valuable tool for investigators and prosecutors in providing evidence about terrorist activity."

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne, Senior National Co-ordinator Counter Terrorism said: "The Counter Terrorism Command of the MPS will use all available legislative processes to combat terrorism.

"This case is an example where the SOCPA legislation has secured substantial and significant evidence and intelligence relating to investigations undertaken by the Counter Terrorism Command which has also assisted law enforcement agencies in other countries."

On 13 November 2009 under the terms of the SOCPA agreement, full details of the assistance Badat had provided were referred to the Crown Court to allow a judge to consider reducing his sentence. The judge took into account the valuable assistance provided and reduced his sentence to 11 years' imprisonment.

At the time of the hearing there was a joint application by CPS and defence for the judge to make an order under Sec 75 SOCPA prohibiting the publication of any matter relating to the proceedings until further order. This was for the safety of Badat.

It was agreed that when Badat would be required to give evidence in a public court the order would be lifted. Badat is now to give evidence in the trial of Adis Medunjanin in the federal court in Brooklyn, in the Eastern District of New York, and so the order has now been lifted.


Notes to Editors

  1. Badat's co-conspirator in the plot to destroy passenger aircraft was Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber". Reid pleaded to eight terrorism charges in the US and is currently serving a life sentence there without parole.
  2. Adis Medunjanin has been charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction; conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country, providing material support to al-Qaeda and related charges. The trial is due to start on 16 April 2012 in New York. The charges contained in the indictment against Medunjanin are merely allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 
  3. PDF copies of Counsel's opening on the case of Badat, the judge's sentencing remarks and the SOCPA application can be found on the CPS website (Adobe Reader needed)
  4. General guidance on SOCPA undertakings can be found on the CPS website
  5. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  6. The DPP has set out what the public can expect from the CPS in the Core Quality Standards document published in March 2010.
  7. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three specialised national divisions: Central Fraud Division, Special Crime and Counter Terrorism, and Organised Crime. From 1 September 2011, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) prosecution function was transferred to the CPS.  A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales.
  8. In 2010-2011 the CPS employed around 7,745 people and prosecuted 957,881 cases with 116,898 of these in the Crown Court, and the remaining 840,983 in the magistrates' courts. Of those we prosecuted, 93,106 defendants were convicted in the Crown Court and 727,491 in the magistrates' courts. In total 86% of cases prosecuted resulted in a conviction. Further information can be found on the CPS website.
  9. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.