Nottingham

Accused 'not an Islamophobic madman'

Roger Smith leaving Nottingham Crown Court Image copyright PA
Image caption Roger Smith, from Clifton in Nottingham, denies four charges

A man accused of stockpiling explosive substances to "defend the UK from an attack by Isis" is not an "Islamophobic madman", according to his defence.

Roger Smith claims he had the substances for lawful purposes, such as cleaning and science experiments.

His barrister said he was "a bit eccentric" and hoarded items such as these at his Nottingham home.

Mr Smith, 46, denies having explosive substances and having a document or record for terrorist purposes.

In the defence closing speech, Serena Gates said: "The reality is that Roger Smith has a genuine interest in playing around with gunpowder and making fires and flames and things, and there's nothing wrong with that."

The charges against Roger Smith:

  • He denies two charges of having an explosive substance, including gunpowder, sulphuric acid, nitric acid, peroxide and acetone.
  • He also denies two charges of having a document or record for terrorist purposes, contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000, namely the Anarchy Cookbook Version 2000.
  • However, the prosecution told jurors there was no allegation Mr Smith was a terrorist or that he was going to personally commit a terror act.
  • He has not been charged with any offences in relation to weapons found at his home, which included knives and bows and arrows.

Mr Smith's trial has heard that police first became aware of him in June 2014, because of a dispute with his neighbours in Summerwood Lane, Clifton.

In his evidence, a police community support officer (PCSO) said Mr Smith had openly told him he had a compound bow and a set of three knives.

PCSO Matthew Holden said Mr Smith was concerned about "a terrorist attack or Islamic attack similar to the Lee Rigby attack", said "Islam was at war with the West" and "believed a citizen should have the right to bear arms".

However, Ms Gates pointed out a Muslim police officer who refers people to de-radicalisation programmes later spoke to Mr Smith, and did not feel it necessary to refer him.

The officer, PC Atlas Iqbal, told the court they had discussed the Muslim faith.

"He was very interested in what PC Iqbal said," Ms Gates told jurors.

"Hardly the actions of an Islamophobic madman."

Image caption Roger Smith is on trial at Nottingham Crown Court

Police searched Mr Smith's home on 21 October 2015 and found gunpowder and large amounts of chemicals that could be used to make explosives, along with a copy of a bomb-making guide called the Anarchy Cookbook Version 2000, the court heard.

In interview, the court heard Mr Smith told police he had downloaded the book from a website and printed it off, but in his evidence to jurors he said the book was a gift from a friend.

Ms Gates explained he did not tell police the truth as he did not "want to drop anyone else in it".

She accepted Mr Smith made comments about "immigrants coming into this country", but said his views did not make him a criminal.

"Not everyone shares Donald Trump's views in America but that doesn't make him a criminal," she said.

'Not at war'

Mr Smith bought a second copy of the Anarchy Cookbook from Amazon while awaiting trial, which he said was to use as evidence for his defence, the jury was told.

However, he was charged with an extra offence for doing this, the court heard.

In the prosecution closing speech, Michelle Heeley said Mr Smith had no lawful excuse to have the gunpowder, no innocent excuse to have the chemicals, and no reasonable excuse to have the Anarchy Cookbook.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are not at war," she told jurors.

"We are not under attack. This is not America. We do not have the right to bear arms."

The jury is considering its verdicts.

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