The National Court confirms the dismissal of the terrorist case
Einar Oddur Sigurðsson, the defender of one of the men in the socalled terrorist case. mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson
The National Court split in its position when it upheld the District Court’s ruling dismissing the so-called terrorism case. This is done in light of the fact that there are major shortcomings in the identification of the supposedly criminal activities of Sindri Snær Birgisson and Ísidór Nathansson.
This is reflected in the ruling of Landsréttur, which has not yet been published on the court’s website.
One of the three judges in the National Court issued a separate vote and wanted the District Court’s deferral order to be rescinded.
The Reykjavík District Court’s decision of February 9th dismissed two sections of the charges against Birgisson and Nathansson. In said sections the charges against Birgisson is charged with an attempt of terrorism and Nathansson is charged with a share in an attempted crime of Birgisson.
This deferral does not concern the second paragraph of the indictment, which relates to the offence of weapons and large-scale weapons, as well as drug trafficking.
The opinion of the majority of the court, composed of Landsréttur judges Kristni Halldórsson and Ragnheiður Bragadóttir, refers to the Criminal Procedure Act, which specifies that any conduct charged with the crime should be as fair as possible in the prosecution. It also states where and when the offence is alleged to be committed. The majority’s ruling states that this should be explained in a way that the description of the conduct must be so good and clear that the defendant can determine from it what criminal conduct he is accused of and what criminal provisions he is considered to have committed.
The indictment alleges that in Chapter I of the indictment, which is aimed at Birgisson, he is charged with attempted acts of terrorism by having decided to cause death, death or grievous bodily harm to an unspecified group of people, or to endanger their lives by massive damage to property, and expressly demonstrating that intention in a word between May and September last year. Among other things, the indictment referred to the use of phraseology and statements on the encrypted communication program Signal. He also created, manufactured and acquired firearms, components in firearms and ammunition. In this way, he bought, among other things, AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles, which were converted into semi-automatic. Also, he acquired materials and information about bomb and drone technology and attempted to gain identification, police clothing, and police equipment with the intent of misleading the target audience.
The indictment against Nathansson, Chapter II, also refers to the charge that he was involved in the use of words and deeds in Birgisson's offenses by sending him words of encouragement, propaganda and material, and information about known terrorists, their ideology and methods of action, as well as information about bombing and drone construction, etc.
Unspecified group at an undisclosed location okay...
The ruling of Landsréttur states that when it comes to who or when the alleged attack should take place, the presentation of the charges is not considered to cause a rejection.
...but lacked a description of what should have been done
However, it is stated that the indictment does not contain any further description or delineation of the reputation and statements of Birgisson and Nathansson based on the claim that Birgisson is intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm to an unspecified group of people or to endanger their lives or by gross damage to property.
This does not allow provisions of Article 152(1)(c) and (d) of the Criminal Procedure Act No. 88/2008 to be complied with to specify the conduct of the defendant as accurately as possible from the investigative evidence available at the time.
Therefore, the ruling states that the prosecution should have been able to specify much more clearly and accurately in the indictment which phraseology and statements in the two men’s communication showed that Birgisson had made a decision on terrorism.
The criminality of the crime is not determined by the indictment
This results in the same for the plaintiff against Nathansson and his share of the alleged crimes of Birgisson. The court says that no further description or explanation can be found in the prosecution of the alleged incitement and subversion of Nathansson.
“According to the above, such shortcomings in the defence’s designation of the presumed criminal conduct of the defendant under Chapters I and II of the indictment are such that they will not be considered to be able to determine from the indictment only what the criminal conduct is to blame. Are these shortcomings such that it is reasonable for the defence to maintain the defence in the case,” the majority verdict reads, confirming the District Court’s rejection of the chapters of the case involving terrorism.
Special vote of Sigvaldason
The separate vote by Landsréttur judge Simon Sigvaldason shows that he agrees with the majority by stating that the prosecution was allowed to refer to the fact that a terrorist plot targeted an unspecified group in an unspecified location.
However, Sigvaldason adds that preliminary activities need to be considered as taking into consideration the purpose of the conduct of an offence, even if this is not sufficient to allow the offence to fully commit a crime. The evidence provides information about activities that can objectively be respected as preparation for the commission of a terrorist act.
Sigvaldason criticizes the presentation of the charges regarding alleged intent through verbal and declaratory statements, however, saying that it does not cause a deportation. “I believe it would have been more accurate, and in better accordance with the usual indictment construct, to have been shown in the indictment at least some example of this phraseology or these statements. I believe, however, that the charge is sufficiently clear about this defendant’s conduct,” his special vote states.