Abu Hamza made liable for £1m legal aid costs

The radical cleric Abu Hamza has been made liable for more than £1m in legal aid costs for his defence at his trial on charges of inciting murder and race hate.

Lord Justice Hughes said he accepted that Abu Hamza, who is seeking to appeal against his conviction in the House of Lords, might not be able to pay, but his judgment would allow the Legal Services Commission to seize his assets.

The judge said he was making an order for the recovery of the full costs of his defence because of the "inaccurate and false information" that Abu Hamza had provided to the court about his financial interests.The order means the commission will be able to apply to seize a £220,000 house in Greenford, west London. Abu Hamza claimed his sister owned the house but the judge said he did not believe him.

Speaking via video link from prison to the Old Bailey, Abu Hamza pleaded poverty, saying he had no assets and no access to any money since his disability benefits were stopped in April 2003. He said he had been living off handouts from various family and friends. But the court heard that Abu Hamza, whose wife and six children live in a council house, was still contributing to private school fees totalling £9,000 a year. Abu Hamza was jailed for seven years in February last year for inciting murder and race hate charges.

The commission has been investigating Abu Hamza's finances since 10 February last year when the judge ordered him to disclose his financial circumstances. Investigations have centred on Abu Hamza's property dealings, including the purchase of a £220,000 house in Hicks Avenue, Greenford.

Louis Weston, for the commission, told the court that inquiries had revealed that Abu Hamza first purchased a flat in Adie Road, Hammersmith in May 2000 from the local council for £75,000. In August 2003 he transferred the property to his son, Mohammed Kamel Mostafa, who sold it a year later for £228,000. Mr Weston said the proceeds of the sale were used to buy the house in Hicks Avenue. The house was bought by Abu Hamza's sister, Ola Kamel Mostafa, who transferred control of her assets to his wife, Najat Chaffe. Abu Hamza said his sister had also been the owner of the flat in Adie Road.

Abu Hamza said the house was passed to his son when he decided he could no longer act on behalf of his sister.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Sport
footballLive blog: Follow the action from the Capital One Cup semi-final
Life and Style
food + drink
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century