[JURIST] The UK Crown Prosecution Service [official website] announced Wednesday that seven Muslim extremists [press release] accused of conspiring to bomb trans-Atlantic flights will be retried because a jury failed to reach verdicts earlier this week. In a prepared statement, Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald [official profile] said:
I have today concluded that the prosecution should apply to retry each of these defendants on every count that the recently discharged jury failed to agree upon. This will include a count that each defendant conspired to detonate improvised explosive devices on transatlantic passenger aircraft.MacDonald said his office would soon file an application for a new trial. On Monday, a jury in London acquitted an eighth suspect [IHT report] and convicted three of the defendants on less-serious charges. The failure to convict the defendants was viewed as a blow to British counterterrorism authorities, who had said the plot potentially could have exceeded the US September 11 attacks [JURIST news archive] in scale. Some officials speculated that the development could lead Britian to reconsider its ban on admitting evidence obtained through wiretaps. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage. The Independent has local coverage.
The suspected plot, which British authorities announced they had foiled [JURIST report] in August 2006, allegedly involved using liquid explosives disguised as beverages to blow up jets bound for North America from Heathrow Airport. Shortly after those arrests, UK Home Secretary John Reid told journalists that the threat of terrorism required balancing individuals' civil liberties [JURIST report] against the "collective right to security." This February, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown [official website] told Parliament that UK courts should be allowed to hear some wiretap evidence [JURIST report] when certain "key conditions are met." Brown's recommendation followed a confidential report on the use of wiretap evidence [JURIST report] suggesting that the government establish a special group of judges who would oversee wiretap-related cases against terrorism suspects.