Acquittal for client accused of terrorist financing at Woolwich Crown Court


R v HA [2021] at the Crown Court sitting at Woolwich

Rebecca Cooke has successfully defended HA, an individual charged with entering into a financing agreement for the purposes of terrorism. The case concerned multiple transfers of money by HA to Europe, the Middle East and the US over a two year period during the catastrophic Syrian civil war. It was alleged by the prosecution that HA had entered into various financing agreements to fund anti-Assad military action during the war. The allegations were vehemently denied by our client.

Before Mr Justice Sweeney at Woolwich Crown Court, and represented by Christopher Bertham of 3 Temple Gardens Chambers, we were able to present compelling evidence to the jury in seeking to disprove the case against our client. This was achieved through the use of expert and civilian witnesses giving evidence by live link, from the US and Europe, that demonstrated that our client was actually providing financial support for humanitarian and educational purposes for the true victims of the Syrian civil war: the Syrian people.

After a three week trial HA was acquitted unanimously by a jury of all the allegations after a very short period of deliberation.

following his acquittal our client commented as follows:

I would like to thank Shearman Bowen for the enormous effort and hard work they dedicated to my case in order to reveal the truth, and serve justice in my case. Mr Mark Bowen appointed Ms Rebecca Cooke to represent me, to whom I owe my freedom now. I am so much in debt to them. I was arrested and wrongly charged with very serious charges.

My barrister, Chris Bertham,  spent a considerable amount of time and extreme effort to understand a different culture and went into the smallest details to find out the truth. He cared as if I were a family member.

Shearman Bowen has defended the poor people, stood by the oppressed and innocent people in the UK and overseas, maintained the highest level of professionalism and values, and they have my many many thanks.

The team at Shearman Bowen adopted a proactive approach to the case working effortlessly in locating witnesses worldwide and analysing large volumes of material in order to expose the true purpose of the financial transfers made by our client.

Senior partner Mark Bowen commented:

“This is a fantastic and deserved result for our client who, in the event of conviction, had been facing the prospect of a 12 year sentence for providing what was – in effect- humanitarian aid to his family and the people of Syria. I congratulate Rebecca Cooke for all her detailed and hard work in the preparation of this case and the skill and care of trial Counsel Christopher Bertham”

For more information of the work we carry out at Shearman Bowen please contact Senior Partner Mark Bowen or Senior Associate Rebecca Cooke.