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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.

Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

Find out more about private prosecutions

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

Isa Ibrahim guilty of terrorism and explosives offences


Following Isa Ibrahim's conviction at Winchester Crown Court today for possessing explosives and a terrorism offence, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Counter Terrorism lawyer Moira Macmillan said: "As part of this investigation, the police spent thousands of hours painstakingly reconstructing Isa Ibrahim's computer and internet activity in the months leading up to his arrest.

"The role that his repeated viewing of extremist media played in his radicalisation was central to the prosecution case. The court was told that he spent many hours watching and re-watching material on the internet that included videos of suicide bombers and instructions on how to make explosive devices.

"The device that Ibrahim was making was viable and he had taken steps to make it even more destructive by acquiring ball bearings and airgun pellets. He had identified a target. Had he carried out the attack he had been preparing, serious civilian casualties would have been inevitable.

"Isa Ibrahims defence, that he was somehow playing the role of a terrorist out of boredom or frustration, was rejected by the jury.

"Whatever his - or anyone's - motivation and whatever their perceived justification, the CPS will prosecute to the full extent of the law anyone who would prepare to use terrorism to try to achieve their aims.

"The strong team approach employed by Avon and Somerset Police, the CPS and prosecuting counsel has resulted in this successful prosecution and we would also like to thank the Muslim community in Bristol for their support throughout the investigation and prosecution."


  1. Isa Ibrahim was charged with three offences:
    a. Making an explosive substance with intent, contrary to Section 3(1)(b) of the Explosives Substances Act 1883. The maximum sentence for this offence is life imprisonment
    b. Preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to Section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006. The maximum sentence for this offence is life imprisonment
    c. Making an explosive substance, contrary to Section 4(1)of the Explosives Substances Act 1883. The maximum sentence for this offence is 14 years imprisonment. Isa Ibrahim pleaded guilty to this offence before his trial started.
  2. Ibrahims intended target was the Broadmead shopping centre in Bristol
  3. Media enquiries by email : CPS Press Office or by phone: 020 7710 6091, Out of hours pager: 07699 781926.
  4. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  5. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition there are four specialised national divisions: Organised Crime, Special Crime, Counter-Terrorism and the Fraud Prosecution Service. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 85.1% in 2007-2008. Further information can be found on our website.
    More about the CPS
  6. 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.