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City Law School Lecturer and Barrister appears in chemical weapons case

Robin Sellers acted on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) at the Court of Appeal’s Criminal Division.
by John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer)

Model Car Ricin RGS/5

City Law School Senior Lecturer and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) consultant, Robin Sellers, successfully appeared on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service at the Court of Appeal Criminal Division on 8th June 2016.

Robin SellersHe was instructed to resist a renewed application for leave to appeal the conviction and subsequent 8-year sentence of Muhammed Ali.

The applicant was challenging his conviction for attempted possession of a chemical weapon pursuant to Section 1 of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981, and the Chemical Weapons Act 1996.

Potential terrorism scenarios

Robin was called upon by the three-judge court headed by Lord Justice Treacey to assist on the Crown’s contended admissibility under domestic and European Law, of lies told by Mr Ali when initially questioned by the police upon arrest. Those questions, in the absence of legal advice, are permitted to secure the safety of individuals in potential terrorism scenarios.

Mr Ali had sought to procure ricin, a deadly chemical toxin, from vendors on the dark web but had unwittingly attracted the attention of undercover FBI agents who arranged for an innocuous substance to be delivered instead, having contacted the British counter terrorism police.

Model Car Ricin RGS/5 RGS/2It was argued that the lies were relevant to the jury’s assessment of Mr Ali’s credibility when he said he had merely sought to carry out the transaction as he was curious about the dark web and obsessed with the TV show “Breaking Bad” where the main character used ricin as a poison.

This was one of the first uses of the Chemical Weapons Act in a contested case.

Chemical Weapons Act 1996

The Chemical Weapons Act 1996 was enacted to give effect to the UK’s obligations under United Nations’ treaties banning the use and stockpiling of chemical weapons.

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