Man Jailed Over Terrorist Cookbook

A businessman from Portsmouth who used the July 7 bombings as a "marketing opportunity'' to promote a "terrorists' handbook'' which he sold on the internet has been jailed for three years.

Terence Brown, 47, was found guilty following a trial at Winchester Crown Court of collecting and distributing material that could have led to attacks.

The court heard that he made 100,000 US dollars by selling CDs containing tens of thousands of pages of information at his home in Portsmouth.

Topics included "how to make a letter bomb'' and "how to enter countries illegally''.

The prosecution said the information, called the Anarchist Cookbook, could have been used by terrorists to plan and commit atrocities.

Brown was convicted of seven counts of collecting information which could have been used to prepare or commit acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000, two counts of selling and distributing the information under the Terrorism Act 2006 and a further count under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Sentencing Brown, the judge, Mr Justice Blair, said he accepted that he was not a terrorist and acted solely out of financial motivations.

He said Brown initially offered the Anarchist Cookbook as a free gift to promote adult websites before starting to sell it when he realised he could make money from it.

Mr Justice Blair said that, within days of the London bombings, Brown downloaded further information and released a "limited edition'' of the publication.

He advertised the product by saying people should order before the CDs were banned, the court was told.

Mr Justice Blair said:

"You admit that you used this (July 7) as a marketing opportunity to boost flagging sales.''

He added:

"Motivated only by money, you acted in a completely irresponsible way.

"Your use of the 7/7 bombings as a marketing tool and the downloading of numerous material and selling of a limited edition was not just irresponsible but incredibly cynical.

"It must have crossed your mind that the information you were selling could have been used in further incidents in this country or abroad.''

Mr Justice Blair said Brown had been prosecuted because of the quantity of material that he had been selling.

He said:

"There was an immense amount of material on the discs. Had it been printed out it would have stretched for yards.

"A considerable amount of it was in the 'pranks' category but the majority was not in that category; in particular, there was a mass of material giving instructions as to how to make bombs.

"The reader was given lists of household chemicals and told where to obtain other chemicals and there were instructions how to make numerous explosives.''

Mr Justice Blair added:

"Had the verdicts been otherwise, you would have felt free to resume publication of this dangerous mix of material and others would have been encouraged to do the same.''

Imran Khan, defending, said Brown's motivation was purely financial and he had no terrorist sympathies.

He added that there was no evidence that his information had been used in any terrorism incident.

He said:

"This is an unusual case. This defendant is not the usual type of defendant who comes to be prosecuted under terrorism legislation.

"Terrorist is a label that will be attached to this defendant for some time to come.

"He has no religious, political or ideological beliefs. In short, he was not and is not a terrorist or has any terrorist sympathy. His motivation was financial gain.

"Unlike those who might wish to create havoc and mayhem using devices and recipes, this was a man who was simply motivated by being in debt for some time. He was simply making money to live.

"This was a man who was just about making enough money to meet his commitments.''

Mr Khan added that Brown ran his website openly and even declared his income to HM Revenue and Customs.

He said his client was unaware that he was breaking the law.

Mr Khan said Brown was "one of many'' people selling similar material on the internet and freedom of expression was at the centre of the case.

He said that Brown recycled and compiled information available elsewhere on the internet.

He said:

"He is in some ways the accidental defendant.

"Either by happenstance or by design, he found himself the subject of a trial where the subject of freedom of expression has become a clear and apparent problem which has to be resolved by society and, in this case, a jury.

"It could have been any number of individuals in the dock who were selling similar materials.''

He added:

"Booksellers and publishers will now have to think carefully about what they can publish.''

Mr Khan added that Brown now recognised how society viewed the publishing of such material and regretted his actions.

The court heard that Brown had previously served a jail term for counterfeiting software.