Uber driver terrorist had £300,000 in legal aid

Uber driver terrorist who attacked Buckingham Palace police with 42-inch sword and plotted gay Pride attack received £300,000 in legal aid

  • Mohiussunnath Chowdhury was convicted of planning terror attacks in February
  • In July Chowdhury, 29, was given life with minimum tariff of 25 years for the plot
  • Was cleared in 2018 of planning terror attack outside Buckingham Palace in 2017
  • Former Uber driver from Luton was said to be driven by ‘dreams of martyrdom’

An extremist who planned to massacre victims in terror attacks across London benefited from nearly £300,000 in legal aid, it has emerged today. 

Mohiussunnath Chowdhury hatched plots to target popular attractions, including Madame Tussauds, the Pride parade and an open-top sightseeing bus.

In December 2018, Chowdhury was released from prison after being found not guilty of attacking police officers with a Samurai sword outside Buckingham Palace in 2017.

But just months after he was released from custody, he was arrested three days before the Pride parade in summer 2019 after he unknowingly revealed his jihadist plans to undercover police officers.

In February this year the 29-year-old, who was said to be driven by ‘dreams of martyrdom’, was convicted of planning terror attacks and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years in July. 

Chowdhury also dismissed his praise of the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the murder of soldier Lee Rigby as ‘jihadi banter’. 

Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, 29, from Luton, was found guilty of plotting a terror attack on iconic London tourist sites just months after his release from custody

CCTV imagery above shows Chowdhury purchasing items for the attack in a supermarket

The taxi driver had also glorified terror while he was held on remand at maximum-security HMP Belmarsh before his first trial. Drawings found inside his cell showed a terrorist armed with AK47-style rifle shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he peppers a police officer standing outside 10 Downing Street with bullets (seen above)

What is legal aid and who is entitled to it? 

Legal aid can help meet the costs of legal advice, family mediation and representation in a court or tribunal.

You’ll usually need to show that you cannot afford to pay for this help. 

If your problem is covered by legal aid and you qualify you could get: advice on your rights and options help with negotiations and paperwork help if you’re accused of a crime, for example advice at a police station a solicitor or barrister to get your case ready and speak on your behalf in court and some tribunals.

Source: Gov.uk 

In August 2017, Chowdhury drove towards Buckingham Palace before slashing two unarmed officers with a sword while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’. 

He was cleared of terrorism offences in December 2018 after he claimed he was depressed and wanted police to kill him.

In January 2019, when he posted disturbing messages online and bought an imitation Glock firearm, counter terrorism police, with the assistance of the security services, began investigating him.  

The former Uber driver from Luton was convicted in February and jailed for life in July. 

He was also sentenced to three years for sharing an ISIS propaganda video and seven years for possessing a knife attack terror manual.

His sentences will run concurrently – meaning he will serve a total of at least 25 years.

It has since emerged that Chowdhury benefited from £284,125 in legal aid between 2017 and 2020.

Some £165,217 of this was paid in solicitors’ fees and the remaining £118,907 paid for a barrister, according to figures obtained from the Ministry of Justice’s Legal Aid Agency.

Legal aid can help meet the costs of legal advice, family mediation and representation in a court or tribunal. 

Legal Aid Agency notes that without legal representation defendants could argue their trial was unfair and convictions could be quashed.  

In August 2017, Chowdhury drove towards Buckingham Palace before slashing two unarmed officers with this sword while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’


Sneha Chowdhury (right), 25, cried as she was convicted of one count of failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism and cleared of another count of the same charge. Her brother Mohiussunnath is pictured left

The image above shows the night that Chowdhury was at Buckingham Palace with a sword

LGBT and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: ‘If he had been properly convicted for the sword attack in 2017, he would not have been free to plot subsequent terror offences and pile up further huge legal bills at public expense.’ 

During his most recent trial, the prosecution told the court how Chowdhury was inspired by al-Qaeda and Khalid Masood, who killed six people in an attack on Westminster Bridge and outside Parliament. 

Undercover cops befriended Chowdhury and recording his conversations, as well as those between the terrorist and his sister Sneha Chowdhury.

Chowdhury used his sister’s bank account to buy 40-inch wooden swords. 

At Woolwich Crown Court in August, Sneha Chowdhury was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and given a 60-day rehabilitation order.

She was previously found guilty of one count of failing to disclose information regarding her brother’s terrorist activity.

Handout file photo photo issued by Metropolitan Police of a handwritten note, shown at Woolwich Crown Court, relating to the trial of Sneha Chowdhury and Mohiussunnath Chowdhur

The image above is a drawing by Chowdhury which shows the 9/11 terrorist attack in the US

A photo from the Metropolitan Police shows the wooden swords Chowdhury used for training

The hilt of the sword allegedly used outside Buckingham Palace is pictured above next to a ruler

The Ministry of Justice says: ‘In 2013 new legislation was brought in meaning that defendants must now pass a strict financial means test. Depending on their means, applicants for criminal legal aid can be required to pay contributions up to the entire cost of their defence.

‘Criminals and defendants do not receive a penny of legal aid, payments are means tested and sent directly to solicitors and barristers who defend them to ensure a fair trial.

‘Without legal representation criminals could argue their trial was unfair and convictions could be quashed.’

Moment ‘calm and confident’ Uber driver’s body language turns ‘ferocious and angry’ as he realises he’s been caught out by police

This is the moment the ‘calm and confident’ Mohiussunnath Chowdhury’s body language turns ‘ferocious and angry’ after he realises he’s been caught out by police for plotting a gun and knife rampage at busy London tourist sites. 

Chowdhury bragged to undercover officers about shaving his beard off and deceiving a jury which cleared him of a sword attack on police outside Buckingham Palace at a previous trial at the Old Bailey in December 2018.

Experts on Quest Red’s Faking It: Tears of a Crime say Chowdhury unwittingly exposed his guilt with a ‘five second leg shake’ and ‘rapid blinking’ as he finally realised he’d been caught during a police interview.

The criminal, who was sentenced earlier this year, was also seen becoming increasingly angry, with his body language giving away his frustration – including glares, clenched fists and clamped lips, according to experts.

Scroll down for video 

This is the moment a ‘calm and confident’ Uber driver’s body language (pictured) turns ‘ferocious and angry’ after he realises he’s been caught out by police for plotting a gun and knife rampage at busy London tourist sites

In his police interview, Chowdhury claimed innocence. Yet his guilt was hidden in plain sight as well as his increasing frustration once he realised he was caught, according to a panel of British experts in psychology, body language and speech analyse.

In his first interview, Chowdhury, also known as Musa, was calm and confident in his answers, encouraging officers to ‘ask him anything’ and insisting he was happy to help with their enquiries.

But during a second meeting a recording of him explaining his plans for future attacks and how he lied in his previous trial is played back to him from undercover officers. 

From here, Chowdhury’s behaviour appeared to change completely, becoming more withdrawn. ‘At this point, Chowdhury knows that he’s busted, the game is up so he starts to shut down’, forensic psychologist Kerry Daynes notes.

Examining the footage, body language expert Cliff Lansley pinpoints a cluster of unconscious behaviours – a five second leg shake, rapid blinking and a glare of anger – that suggest Chowdhury’s growing anxiousness.   

And now experts on Quest Red’s Faking It: Tears of a Crime say Chowdhury (pictured), also known as Musa, unwittingly exposed his guilt with a ‘five second leg shake’ and ‘rapid blinking’ as he finally realised he’d been caught during a police interview

‘Although he seems calm on the surface, we can see a vibration from the legs which, when you count that, there’s about four or five movements per second. It’s the result of stress that’s caused by anxiety.’ Cliff explains. 

‘When you combine that with the rapid blink rates – about four or five times in a short period of time – this shows that he’s experiencing cognitive load; he’s thinking hard.’

Chowdhury’s body language suggests anger, particularly at being caught red handed by the police, Cliff suggests. 

‘As you look here, the brows are down, you’ve got a glare from the eyes, you can see the lips have started to clamp. You can almost the feel the ferocity, the anger that must be inside him here,’ he says. 

‘He’s clamping his fist you can see the knuckles coming through. This anger is probably directed at himself. He’s been outwitted by the police.’ 

Examining the footage, body language expert Cliff Lansley (pictured) pinpoints a cluster of unconscious behaviours – a five second leg shake, rapid blinking and a glare of anger – that suggest Chowdhury’s growing anxiousness

Even Chowdhury’s voice seemingly signaled his guilt, as professor of linguistics Dawn Archer notes. ‘The volume being down and everything about him tells us that he’s not alright. He knows he’s been caught.’ 

Over the course of a five-month surveillance operation detectives gathered crucial information about Chowdhury’s mindset and plans after winning his trust. 

The ex-chicken shop worker prepared for his potential attack by lifting weights, practising stabbing, rehearsing beheading techniques as well as booking shooting range training and trying to acquire a real gun.

Prosecutors argued at his trial that Chowdhury desired to ‘unleash death and suffering’ on non-Muslims after being influenced by sermons from preachers like al Qaida’s Anwar Al-Awlaki. 

Chowdhury told one undercover officer he was free to attack one million unbelievers if he was fighting for ‘the pleasure of Allah’ and stressed the importance of an ‘ambush’, saying: ‘They shouldn’t know what hit them.’ 

Source: Read Full Article