Legal aid payment of £7m for lawyers in terror trial

Costs revealed after five men were convicted in 2007 of fertiliser bomb plot

Lawyers who defended the men prosecuted for a plot to kill thousands of innocent people using massive fertiliser bombs were paid £7.16m in legal aid, it emerged last night.

The 2007 trial was one of the biggest in British legal history and followed raids by the Metropolitan Police across London and the Home Counties. The judge described five of the men convicted for their part in the foiled terror attack t as ruthless and devious misfits who had betrayed their country of birth.

The Operation Crevice case was one of the biggest terrorism trials in British legal history. It lasted more than a year and the jury took a record 27 days to reach a verdict. The case was unprecedented in its nature and volume of evidence, including 3,644 witness statements and 105 prosecution witnesses. Omar Khyam, the ringleader of the British terrorist cell, and his accomplices planned to use the 600kg bomb on targets such as the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent or the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London.

Jailing them all for life, Mr Justice Astill said they were "cruel and ruthless misfits who should be removed from society for its own protection".

A spokesman for the Legal Services Commission said: "Of the seven defendants tried in relation to Operation Crevice, five were convicted of criminal offences and two were acquitted. The cost of the defence for the trial was £7.16m."

He added: "The decision to grant legal aid in criminal cases is made by the court after applying an 'interests of justice test', which considers a number of factors, including whether an individual is likely to lose their liberty and the complexity of the case. The court applies the test objectively."

The judge described Khyam, 25 at the time of the trial, as "ruthless, devious, artful and dangerous". He gave warning that he and the others may never be released from prison. Khyam had spoken with "enthusiasm and pleasure of the slaughter of non-believers", the judge said.

"You took full advantage of the benefits free society had to offer. You exploited the freedoms you sought to destroy with such evil purpose. You betrayed the country that's given you every advantage in life."

The LSC said: "Following the court's decision to grant funding, the Legal Services Commission then managed the seven cases under special contract arrangements.

"These arrangements ensure that work undertaken by defence teams is effectively planned and costs are controlled throughout the case."

Six firms of solicitors were involved in representing the seven defendants. They were paid the following totals, which include the fees paid to the barristers who provided the advocacy in court and experts' fees.

The firms are: Imran Khan & Partners, £2.019m; Christian Khan, £1.782m; Birnberg Peirce & Partners, £1.504m, McCormacks, £1.206m; Tuckers, £377,000; Arani & Co, £273,000. The defendants, who were originally represented by Tuckers and Arani & Co, transferred to the other firms during the case.

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album