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Aidan James: No verdict over man who ‘went to fight IS’


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Aidan James denies terrorism offences

The jury has been discharged in the trial of a British man who allegedly travelled to Syria to fight against the Islamic State group.

Aidan James, 28, from Formby, Merseyside, denies two charges of attending terrorist training camps.

Earlier in the trial he was acquitted of preparing terrorist acts, after the Old Bailey judge said he had “no case to answer” to the charge.

The jury, which had deliberated for 14 hours, was unable to reach verdicts.

Jurors had received a majority direction from the trial judge on Friday.

Prosecutors said they would seek a retrial on the two outstanding counts.

No military knowledge

The judge – Mr Justice Edis – directed that a retrial should take place at the Old Bailey on a date to be fixed.

Mr James had no previous military knowledge when he set out to join the war in 2017, the Old Bailey was told.

The trial heard he went to join the Kurdish YPG militia in August 2017, after deciding he wanted to combat the “evil” Islamic State.

He first spent time at an Iraqi refugee camp, where another Kurdish group, the PKK, was present, and later at a Syrian YPG training facility.

‘Wider struggle’

Unlike the YPG, the PKK is classed as a terrorist organisation by the UK, jurors were told.

Halfway through the trial, Mr James was acquitted of a count alleging he prepared for terrorism by taking the steps he did to travel to the Middle East.

Prosecutors were not seeking a conviction on the count if he had been solely preparing to fight IS, since they did not define that as terrorism.

The judge said there was “no evidence” of any other intention.

The case against Mr James on the two YPG charges was put on the basis he had joined a wider struggle than the battle against IS.

The jury foreperson said they jurors unable to reach unanimous or majority verdicts on either count.



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