News Criminal Defence 12th Dec 2023

Nneka Akudolu KC’s client found Not Guilty in Explosives case

In April 2020, the defendant, Andrew Curzon visited a Tesco Superstore in Woolwich and was seen by staff to be in possession of a folding knife.

Officers present dealing with an unrelated incident approached the defendant and searched him. It was identified that the knife he was carrying was legal due to it’s length. They then searched his bag and found a number of chemicals, an imitation firearm and blank cartridges. The store was immediately evacuated and officers from the Counter Terrorism Unit were called to the scene.

The defendant was arrested and interviewed. He claimed that he was an enthusiast who had a keen interest in science, technology and the military. He stated that he intended to experiment with the chemicals, and use the firearm and blanks for target practice in his cousin’s garden.

Whilst detained, specialist officers searched the defendant’s home address and seized his electronic devices. Once downloaded, a number of search terms were found along with websites he had visited. These searches included: ‘embassy car bombings’ ‘mustard gas attacks’  ‘detonations’  ‘explosive precursors’ and ‘explosive chemicals’.

The defendant was charged with an offence under s4 of the Explosives Act 1883 and having an Imitation Firearm in a public place.

During the course of the trial the prosecution called an Analytical Chemist who specialised in explosives and a Bomb Scene investigator from the Metropolitan Police SO15’s Counter Terrorism Command. Both gave evidence that the defendant was in possession of a Nitrocellulose based propellant  (a low explosive) and several other pre cursor explosive materials. Andrew Curzon gave evidence in his own defence with an account consistent to his police interview, citing that he had the materials for a lawful purpose . The jury unanimously found him not guilty.

Counsel was instructed by Callum Haddow of Saunders Solicitors.


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