A former British soldier who was accused of a terror offence after joining Kurdish militia fighting against Islamic State in Syria has had the charge dropped. James Matthews, 43, from Dalston, east London, was charged with receiving instruction or training in Iraq and Syria on or before February 15, 2016, “for purposes connected to the commission of preparation of terrorism”. He had been due to face trial at the Old Bailey in November. But a hearing before Mr Justice Edis, prosecutor Tom Little QC announced the Crown concluded there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction on “evidential grounds”. Mr Matthews entered a formal not guilty plea and the prosecution offered no evidence so a not guilty verdict was entered by the judge. He was sat in the well of the court today as he was formally cleared of wrongdoing. Mr Little defended the decision and stressed the review was based on further evidence “specific” to the case. At the time Mr Matthews was charged, it was believed to be the first time terrorism legislation had been used to prosecute someone who is helping a group which is also being assisted by the UK Government. Joel Bennathan QC, defending,… Read full this story
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