Mohammed Ammer Ali (32), a dad of two from Old Swan, Liverpool, failed his criminal appeal, he couldn’t convince the top judges about the unfairness of his trial. Ali tried to buy 500 milligrams of ricin back in February 2015, a deadly toxin that was enough to kill about 1,400 people. He tried to buy the deadly substance from a dark net marketplace, however, the vendor was an undercover FBI agent. The seller sent the package and alerted law enforcement authorities in the UK, which led to a controlled delivery and the arrest of Ali in February 2015.
Ali was jailed for eight years at the Old Bailey started from last September after he was convicted of attempting to possess chemical weapons. However, the man’s case reached the Appeal Court as he challenged both his conviction and the length of his sentence.
Joel Bennathan, from Ali’s defense, challenged the fairness of his trial, focusing on a “safety interview” conducted in a van outside Ali’s home immediately after his arrest. What they did not like about the interview that it was carried out without the presence of a lawyer. Law enforcement authorities state that they did this since they needed to double-check if Ali had other plots than the ricin. However, Bennathan says the evidence from the interview should have been excluded from Ali’s trial.
In his defense, Ali said that he only bought the ricin to experiment with it, he did not mean to harm anyone. According to Ali, he was involved in nothing more dangerous that innocent research fired by curiosity. Prosecutors accepted the fact that there was no specific target involved and that Ali had no known terrorist links, however, they pointed out that the amount of ricin on the order had the capacity to kill up to 1,400 people.
In addition to that, psychiatric evidence suggested that Ali had clear traits of autism. However, Lord Justice Treacy rejected the claims about the trial being unfair and refused the permission to appeal against conviction. His ruling goes by:
“We are wholly unpersuaded that the judge was wrong in concluding that the evidence could be admitted without causing unfairness. This ground is not arguable. We are not persuaded that the sentence passed was excessive.”