UK & World News

  • 19 December 2013, 2:16

Woolwich Jury Urged To 'Use Common Sense'

The judge in the trial of two men who are accused of murdering Drummer Lee Rigby has told the jury they should use their "common sense".

Mr Justice Sweeney has completed his summing up and has adjourned the Old Bailey trial until Thursday when the jury will be told to retire and make their verdicts.

Michael Adebowale, 22, and Michael Adebolajo, 29, are accused of running the soldier down with a car and then hacking him to death with a meat cleaver and knives near Woolwich Barracks in south east London on May 22.

Both men are also accused of attempting to murder a police officer in the aftermath of the alleged killing of the Fusilier.

The judge began his summing up by telling the jury to use "your joint experience of life and your common sense" in coming to a verdict.

He warned the panel of eight women and four men not to let emotion sway their decision.

The court was reminded that any suggestion that Adebolajo had been engaged in a war of rebellion against the state was not a defence in law.

Addressing the question of intent, Mr Justice Sweeney said there was no psychiatric evidence that either defendant was incapable of forming an intent.

"Just like a drunken intent, an intent driven by religious belief is still an intent," he said.

He told the jury that in relation to the murder count, they must consider three key factors.

The first was whether Lee Rigby was under the 'Queen's peace' at the time of the alleged murder - effectively whether or not, because he was a serving soldier, he was killed in the course of war.

The second was whether he was unlawfully killed and the third was whether the defendants were involved in a joint enterprise to kill him or cause him really serious harm.

In relation to the attempted murder charge, Mr Justice Sweeney told the jury that Adebolajo maintains that he ran at police officers with a meat cleaver in an attempt to get shot, and did not intend to kill them.

Prosecutors maintain that Adebowale pointed a gun at the marksmen to draw fire, and to help Adebolajo to get as close to them as possible.

Earlier, the lawyer of Adebowale told the court his client shares his co-defendant's belief that he is a "soldier of Allah".

Speaking during his own summing up, Abbas Lakha QC added that the reason the men were caryinga gun was not to kill police officers.

He said the aim was to create a situation that would result in armed officers opening fire and killing the two men, ensuring that they would be martyrs.

The trial continues.

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