James Matthews, 43, walks free from Court after the CPS offered ‘no evidence’ in the case against him.
Tuesday 31st July | by Cop(ex) | @ES_Humour
Mr Matthews was accused of joining the YPG in 2015 having served three tours with the Kurdish militia group as he volunteered to risk his own life in order to help them clear mines and booby-traps.
Matthews had said that he was ‘jolted’ to join the fight against Isis after seeing a photograph of a jihadi holding a woman’s severed head which was widely shared on Facebook.
His Lawyer in Court criticised the ‘extraordinary’ decision by the CPS to charge Mr Matthews in the first place.
In the UK, the YPG is linked to the PKK separatist group which is proscribed here in the UK.
The case against Mr Matthews is believed the be the first of its kind where ‘terrorist’ charges have been brought against a UK citizen for volunteering to fight against ISIS.
Brave Mr Matthews had also served with the British Army in Bosnia in the late 1990’s and was also featured in a documentary aired on Channel 4 about UK Citizens who travelled out to the Middle East to fight against ISIS alongside Kurdish Forces.
Professional & affordable social media management services for both the private and public sector
Appearing today at the Old Bailey, he was charged with attending a place used for terrorist training contrary to sec 8 of the Terrorism Act 2006.
However, many people have felt that the Act should be used only to bring to justice those British Citizens who decided to join ISIS rather than to haul before the Courts the men and women who, having seen the atrocities being committed by ISIS, decided to try and help those fighting against the (then) spread of ISIS.
The prosecutor in the case against Matthews, Tom Little QC, offered no evidence to the Court after Matthews denied ‘attending a place or places in Iraq & Syria where instruction or training was provided for purposes connected to the preparation of terrorism’.
Mr Little told the hearing that the ultimate decision to drop the case against Mr Matthews was made owing to ‘new evidence’ which had subsequently emerged since the arrest of Mr Matthews.
Mr Little explained to the Old Bailey that:
‘The prosecution has concluded there is no longer a realistic possibility of conviction.’
In defence of Mr Matthews, his Barrister Joel Bennathan QC told the Court that:
‘We have always said the decision to prosecute Mr Matthews for fighting with the YPG against ISIS was extraordinary and totally unjustified’.
‘Mr Matthews was always open about what he had done and it is baffling that the CPS took two years to decide to prosecute him, then seven months later they have suddenly realised there is not enough evidence to do so.’
Mr Justice Edis entered a verdict of not guilty after the Crown offered no evidence against Matthews.
DON’T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE to our popular fortnightly satirical eMagazine, ‘S__ts & Giggles’ which contains ALL of the funniest material that we are not allowed to share on social media!
ANYONE can subscribe and it only costs £1-per-month!
Got a story or video to share, then CLICK HERE to contact our team!
Before you go...
We need your help. As former emergency services & armed forces personnel, we pride ourselves on bringing you important, fast-moving and breaking news stories which are free from the negative bias which is often directed at the emergency services by some sections of the mainstream media.
One of the reasons we started 'Emergency Services News' was because we became tired of reading badly informed stories about the emergency services which seemed only ever to highlight negative aspects of the job.
We want to be the unheard voice of the remarkable men and women who serve in the emergency services, NHS and armed forces. And with around 500k page views each month, we are getting there!
As income from ads, the mainstay source of income for most publishers, continues to decline; we need the help of our readers.
And remember, if you have a service, product or job vacancy that you would like to promote to our large readership, then you can buy advertising space in our articles.
You can support emergency services news from as little as £1. It only takes a minute. Every contribution, however big or small, is vital for our future.
Please help us to continue to highlight the life-saving work of the emergency services, NHS and armed forces by becoming a supporter.