Sunderland terror case suspect faces retrial

The trial took place at Newcastle Crown Court.
The trial took place at Newcastle Crown Court.

A trial of a Sunderland civil engineer accused of encouraging terrorism by posting ISIS videos on his Facebook page has been brought to a halt after his lawyer took ill.

Abdulrahman Alcharbati, 31, was in the dock at Newcastle Crown court accused of six offences of dissemination of a terrorist publication and one of possessing a document containing terrorist information.

The married dad, who is from Syria, denied all charges and claimed he had only posted "the news".

Prosecutor Dan Pawson-Pounds made his closing speech to the jury on Wednesday and Alcharbati's barrsiter Bunty Batra had been due to make his closing remarks today.

But Judge Paul Sloan has now discharged the jury after Mr Batra took seriously ill overnight.

The judge told jurors Mr Batra had felt unwell yesterday and added: "Unfortunately, matters took a turn for the worse last night. He was admitted to hospital, it is a serious matter.

"The reality is, in the best case scenario, he won't be able to work again for another month."

The judge told jurors: "With considerable regret, and a great deal of sympathy for Mr Batra and Mr Alcharbati, I am going to discharge you from delivering verdicts in this case."

The court heard Alcharbati, who was arrested at his home in Noble Street, Hendon, Sunderland, last May, now faces a retrial in front of a different jury in the summer.

Judge Sloan added; "It is absolutely vital this defendant is properly represented."

Alcharbati, of Noble Street, Sunderland, was remanded in custody.