John McGuinness KC and Rose Slowe

John McGuinness QC Secures Conviction and Sentence of Life-Imprisonment in High-Profile Terrorism Trial

Sahayb Abu was convicted of a count of preparing terrorist acts, contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2006 following a trial at the Central Criminal Court. John McGuinness QC acted as lead counsel for the Crown. Rose Slowe, also of Foundry Chambers, appeared as one of the juniors for the Crown alongside Jonathan Polnay of Treasury Counsel. The case concerned the purchase of a large Qama knife with an 18-inch double edge blade (which the defendant paid extra to have sharpened), a second lock-knife, a body armour vest designed for combat and capable of protecting the wearer from stabbing and a bullet, balaclavas, fingerless gloves, with the intention of committing an act or acts of terrorism, inspired by similar lone-wolf knife attacks. The evidence also featured messages sent via an encrypted messaging Telegram App, called Servants of the Unseen which were supportive of extreme Islamic views, and terrorist acts committed in the name of the so-called Islamic State. The prosecution relied also on evidence of undercover police who had joined the message group and had interacted with the defendant via private messages and in-person meetings. Other evidence featured rap recordings and lyrics produced by the defendant which glorified terrorist violence, the sending of bombs and the murder of civilians.

The defendant was assessed as posing a significant risk of serious harm to the public dangerous by the commission of further offences of terrorism and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term to be served in custody of 19 years.

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