21 August 2006
Susan Hemming, Head of the CPS Counter Terrorism Division, today made the following statement in relation to an alleged plot to detonate explosives on board aircraft:

“I was briefed in relation to these allegations before the arrest and asked to advise on some preliminary legal issues both before and just after arrest. Together with another senior CPS lawyer, I have been working with the police full time at New Scotland Yard for the last eight days. We have been carefully examining and assessing the evidence against each individual with the assistance of anti terrorist officers in order to come to charging decisions at the earliest practicable opportunity.

“This morning I made a decision that there was sufficient evidence and authorised, with the approval of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the charge of 11 individuals.

“Eight individuals have been charged with two offences relating to an alleged plot to manufacture and smuggle the component parts of improvised explosive devices onto aircraft and assemble and detonate them on board. Those individuals have been charged with conspiracy to murder and the new offence of preparing acts of terrorism contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

“In addition, three have been charged with other offences under the Terrorism Act 2000. One has been charged with possession of articles useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism and two with failing to disclose information of material assistance in preventing an act of terrorism. One woman has been released from custody without charge.

“I would like to remind you of the need to take care in reporting the events surrounding this alleged plot. These individuals are only accused of these offences and they have a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be responsible media reporting which should not prejudice the due process of law.

“Finally, 11 other individuals are still in custody and remain under active investigation. Their position is being assessed on a regular basis with a view to considering the need to keep them in detention. We cannot yet make a decision about whether further charges will follow or if a further application for detention will be made on Wednesday as the evidential picture is continuously developing. Any such application would be made by a Crown Prosecutor to a High Court Judge in accordance with the new legislation.”

CPS-related enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8106 or 020 7796 8102.