‘Jihadi Jack’ parents challenge prosecution in Supreme Court
The parents of the Muslim convert known as “Jihadi Jack” have won an appeal to the UK’s highest court against being charged with funding terrorism by sending cash to their son.
Jack Letts, 21, who became the first white Briton to join Isis when he went to Syria in 2014, is still abroad and thought to be in the hands of Kurdish forces.
His parents, John Letts and Sally Lane, from Oxford, were due to stand trial in January this year at the Old Bailey, accused of sending hundreds of pounds to their son between September 2015 and January 2016.
They pleaded not guilty to three counts of making money available, knowing or having reasonable cause to suspect that it might be used for a terrorist purpose. Having challenged the prosecution on a point of law, they have now been granted permission to bring their case to the Supreme Court.
The couple argue that they have been accused of “reasonable cause to suspect” under the Terrorism Act 2000, or what they should have known. However, they argue that this is not the same as “has a reasonable suspicion", or what they did in fact know.
Tayab Ali of ITN Solicitors in northeast London, who is acting for the parents, said: “This is an important point which may have ramifications for other offences under the terrorism legislation and potentially more broadly than that.
“The question for the Supreme Court encompasses whether an individual can be held criminally responsible for very serious offences based on what they ought to have known rather than what they did know.”
The charges arise from money that they sent Jack at his request. They are accused of sending amounts of £223, £1,000 and then £500 between September 2015 and January 2016.
At a preparatory hearing before trial at the Old Bailey, the recorder of London, Nicholas Hilliard, QC, ruled that the prosecution was required to prove only that there was reasonable cause to suspect, on the basis of information they had, that the money might be used for purposes of terrorism.
The parents appealed against that ruling to the Court of Appeal, which dismissed their challenge, but they have now been granted permission to go to the Supreme Court. A hearing date has yet to be set.