Student found with anarchist cookbook cleared of terrorism

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College student Joshua Walker, who had a copy of the anarchist cookbook in a drawer under his mattress, was cleared of a terrorism offense

A college student who had a copy of the anarchist cookbook in a drawer under his mattress has been cleared of a terrorism offense.

Prosecutors said Joshua Walker had “no reasonable excuse” for having the 111-page document, discovered during a police search of his student bed in Aberystwyth.

But Birmingham Crown Court jurors took less than three hours to exonerate him after hearing the account of the 27-year-old he printed the “cookbook” for a role-playing game in 2015, and then had it ” forget “.

Speaking after being cleared, Walker said the decision to prosecute him was “completely outrageous”.

He said: “The PSC could have made better use of its resources.

“I’m not particularly bitter, I just wish they’d thought about it a bit more.”

He also described the months since his detention in December 2016 as less traumatic than “being shelled by the Turkish Air Force”.

Mr Walker said: “It hasn’t been the easiest thing but – at the risk of sounding incredibly cheesy – you have to keep your upper lip stiff and get through it.

“I wish I had to go through all this trouble, but the good British public showed common sense and saw the merits of this case.”

When asked what he would do now, he replied, “I think we’ll have a drink to be completely honest.”

Mr Walker added that he would champion “peaceful political causes in the future”.

Meanwhile, his relieved mother Adele Proctor and father, Dennis Walker, who were in court to hear their son acquitted, said the charge was “a waste of time.”

Ms Proctor said: “The fact that he was in Syria was frightening.

“But the whole nature of this trial and his arrest, and the reasons for it, scared me as much as when he was in Syria to be completely honest.”

Mr Walker added that he was “proud” of his son’s actions in Syria and said of his acquittal: “In the end, the system worked.”

The document was discovered after Walker's arrest at Gatwick Airport in December 2016, back from assisting Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State in Syria.

The document was discovered after Walker's arrest at Gatwick Airport in December 2016, back from assisting Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State in Syria.

The document was discovered after Walker’s arrest at Gatwick Airport in December 2016, back from assisting Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State in Syria.

Mr Walker, 27, was a student at Aberystwyth University, but in mid-2016 he traveled to the Middle East to help Kurdish fighters fighting ISIS.

Upon returning from Turkey to the UK in December 2016, the international politics and strategic studies student was arrested by officers at Gatwick Airport and questioned.

It was while he was questioned that a search of his student studio in Dan-y-Coed, Aberystwyth, West Wales, revealed the ‘cookbook’ in a drawer under his bed.

The war game enthusiast has denied an accusation of possessing information that could be useful to someone committing or preparing for an act of terror.

The partial 111-page copy of the manual was found in his college studio in Dan-y-Coed, Aberystwyth (pictured)

The partial 111-page copy of the manual was found in his college studio in Dan-y-Coed, Aberystwyth (pictured)

The decision to sue Walker, who now lives in Bristol, was criticized by his lawyer who claimed it was available for free online and for sale at well-known internet retailers.

Joel Bennathan QC criticized the Crown Prosecution Service and the government, saying “nothing” was being done to block the sale or distribution of the book, which contains recipes for bomb-making.

But the prosecution said Walker could provide “no reasonable excuse” for keeping the 111-page book for so long, after it was found in his bedroom.

During a plea in Birmingham Crown Court on whether the case should go ahead, Mr Bennathan told a judge the book was “available” for sale and download.

The “cookbook” itself can also be found and downloaded for free with a basic web search.

The manual was found when his bed (pictured) was searched while being questioned

The manual was found when his bed (pictured) was searched while being questioned

Online retail giant Amazon is among the internet sellers, along with Waterstones, Foyles and others, priced at around £ 20.

Mr Bennathan, in his legal argument, said: “It really is a draconian inference and there is really no public interest when the book is available, it is for sale and no one is trying to restrict that.”

Walker claimed to have printed the book for the role-playing group Crisis Games Society he helped lead, but later forgot he had it at his student studio in Dan-y-Coed, Aberystwyth.

His trial had learned that since the match he had moved, although he cannot remember handling it during the change of address.

The decision to sue Walker was criticized by his attorney who claimed it was available for free online and for sale at well-known internet retailers.

The decision to sue Walker was criticized by his attorney who claimed it was available for free online and for sale at well-known internet retailers.

Walker claimed to have printed the book for the role-playing group Crisis Games Society he helped lead, but later forgot he had it at his student studio in Dan-y-Coed, Aberystwyth.

Walker claimed to have printed the book for the role-playing group Crisis Games Society he helped lead, but later forgot he had it at his student studio in Dan-y-Coed, Aberystwyth.

During the legal hearing, Mr Bennathan said: “It (The Anarchist Cookbook) can be downloaded, purchased in the UK, on ​​Amazon, so that the information is available and remains available.”

“Pursuing Mr. Walker doesn’t put that genius back in the bottle.

“It is available for free on the Internet. “

Walker had printed the material at the college library after researching it online

Walker had printed the material at the college library after researching it online

The manual found in the sliding drawer (pictured) contained instructions on how to make plastic explosives, hand grenades, homemade bombs and detonators

The manual found in the sliding drawer (pictured) contained instructions on how to make plastic explosives, hand grenades, homemade bombs and detonators

The manual found in the sliding drawer (pictured) contained instructions on how to make plastic explosives, hand grenades, homemade bombs and detonators

The lawyer also claimed that “the prosecution is doing nothing to suppress the sale by mass sellers of this book.”

Mr Bennathan added: “It is for sale and no one is trying to restrict it.”

He said it was not Mr. Walker who was trying to “post or share this material”, but “it is actually the Internet and Internet sellers like Amazon, who are – anyone can buy it.”


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