Evidence in UK terror trial will remain secret ‘forever’

Erol Incedal was found not guilty in the trial
Erol Incedal was found not guilty in the trial

The bulk of the evidence in the UK's first terror trial will remain secret forever, a judge ruled today.

Erol Incedal was found not guilty of preparing an act of terrorism following a trial at the Old Bailey that was mainly held behind closed doors.

Despite a bid by the media to be able to report the sections accredited reporters were allowed to take notes on, the trial judge Mr Justice Nicol still refused, adding that his reasons were secret too.

Only a small section of the trial and retrial of the 27-year-old Turkish-born law student was heard in public in an unprecedented move for a terror case.

While the lion's share was held completely in secret in the interest of national security, 10 accredited reporters were allowed to take notes but not report evidence in what was referred to as a "Part 2" section.

The three tier arrangement was set up following a High Court challenge by media before the trial got under way.

The High Court judgment allowed for the restrictions to be reviewed at the trial's conclusion.

During legal submissions on Friday, it was argued for the media that in light of Incedal's acquittal the public should not remain in ignorance of his defence against such a serious charge.

And the restrictions might lead to speculation which may or may not be accurate, it was said.

But prosecutor Richard Whittam QC opposed the move saying nothing had changed and the Crown might be put off bringing similar cases in future if Part 2 reporting was allowed.

Mr Justice Nicol's reasons for refusal were also deemed to be secret.

His public judgment stated that "for reasons which I can only explain in the accompanying private judgment" he rejected the media application.

He agreed with prosecutor Mr Whittam's opposition on the grounds that "nothing material has changed in view of the defendant's acquittal to justify the change".