• Top 1% of Defence Law Firms

  • Defended over 50,000 Cases

  • 5 star google reviews

  • 40 Years of Criminal Law Expertise

Criminal Defence Articles

WHAT HAPPENS FOR A FIRST TIME OFFENCE OF TERRORIST FUNDRAISING?

Facing a serious accusation like being involved in fundraising activities for terrorist purposes carries considerable legal repercussions within the United Kingdom. The offence is defined as the involvement in raising funds with the knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect that they will be used for the purposes of terrorism. This article delves into the critical elements of this offence, the typical legal proceedings, potential sentencing outcomes, and options for securing legal assistance when faced with such charges. If you are being charged with this offence as a first-time accused, understanding the gravity of the matter and engaging a competent legal professional to develop a robust defence is essential.

 

What is the offence of terrorist fundraising?

 

Terrorism offences in the UK are mostly governed by the Terrorism Act 2000 and its amendments, such as the Terrorism Act 2006, the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, and the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011.

 

In England, the offence of terrorist financing involves the raising, receiving, providing, or possessing funds with the intention or having reasonable cause to believe that the funds will be used for the purposes of terrorism. This is outlined in the Terrorism Act 2000, which provides the legal framework for such offences.

 

To secure a conviction for this offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt several key elements:

 

  • Involvement with Funds: The individual must have been involved in some capacity with funds. This includes raising, receiving, providing, or possessing funds. The term ‘funds’ is broadly defined and can encompass money, property, and other financial assets.
  • Intention or Reasonable Cause to Believe: The prosecution must demonstrate that the individual either intended the funds to be used for terrorist purposes or had reasonable cause to believe that the funds would be used in such a manner. This involves proving the individual’s state of mind and their awareness of the intended use of the funds.
  • Terrorist Purposes: It must be established that the funds were to be used for terrorist purposes. The definition of terrorism is broad and includes the use or threat of action designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial, or ideological cause.

 

The prosecution’s case hinges on proving these elements to the required legal standard of beyond reasonable doubt. Given the complexity and the serious nature of the charge, legal proceedings in such cases are thorough and involve detailed examination of evidence and the accused’s intentions.

 

What are some examples of the offence of terrorist fundraising?

Here are some examples of offences related to fundraising for terrorist purposes in the UK:

  • An individual setting up an online crowdfunding campaign under the guise of a charitable cause, knowing that the funds will be directed to a terrorist organisation.
  • Organising a charity event, such as a concert or a sports match, where the proceeds are intended to support terrorist activities, with the organisers being aware of this fact.
  • A person offering financial services, such as money transfers, to facilitate the movement of funds to an entity known to be involved in terrorism.
  • Collecting donations at a religious or community centre with the express intention of providing financial support to a terrorist group.
  • Selling merchandise, such as books, clothing, or memorabilia, where the profits are earmarked for terrorist financing, with the seller being aware of the intended use of the funds.
  • A company diverting a portion of its profits to a subsidiary or a charity that is, in reality, a front for financing terrorist activities.
  • An individual knowingly investing in a business venture that is a front for channelling funds into terrorist operations.
  • Using social media or online payment platforms to solicit donations, with the explicit or implicit suggestion that the funds will support terrorist causes.
  • Offering to launder money with the understanding that the funds are to be used for the financing of terrorist acts.
  • Possessing financial assets or property with the knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that they will be used to support terrorist activities, such as purchasing equipment or funding travel for individuals involved in terrorism.

 

What happens if you are accused of terrorist fundraising?

 

If you are accused of being involved in fundraising for terrorist purposes in England, a series of legal procedures and potential consequences follow, governed by the Terrorism Act 2000 and subsequent legislation. The process typically involves the following steps:

 

  • Investigation: The accusation often triggers a detailed investigation by the police or relevant counter-terrorism authorities. This can include interviews, searches of property, examination of financial transactions, and gathering of evidence related to the alleged fundraising activities.
  • Arrest and Detention: If there is sufficient evidence, you may be arrested under terrorism laws. The period of detention before charges must be brought is longer under terrorism legislation than for most other crimes, allowing authorities more time to investigate given the complexity and seriousness of such cases.
  • Charging: If the evidence is deemed strong enough, formal charges will be made. The specific charges will depend on the nature of the alleged fundraising activities and your purported role in them.
  • Court Proceedings: The case will then proceed through the judicial system, starting with a preliminary hearing and potentially leading to a trial. Terrorism cases are often heard in higher courts given their gravity, such as the Crown Court in England.
  • Bail: Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible for bail pending trial. However, given the nature of the offence, stringent conditions may be applied, or bail may be denied altogether.
  • Trial: During the trial, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were involved in fundraising with the intention or having reasonable cause to believe the funds would be used for terrorist purposes. You will have the opportunity to present a defence.
  • Sentencing: If found guilty, sentencing will depend on various factors, including the nature and extent of the fundraising activities, your role in them, and any previous convictions. Sentences for terrorism-related offences can be severe, reflecting the serious threat they pose to public safety and national security.
  • Appeals: If convicted, you have the right to appeal against the conviction and/or the sentence, provided there are grounds for appeal, such as procedural errors or new evidence.

 

Throughout this process, the rights of the accused, including the right to a fair trial and legal representation, must be maintained, with the proceedings conducted under the strict oversight of the judicial system to ensure justice is served while safeguarding national security.

 

What is the sentence for the offence of terrorist fundraising?

 

The sentencing for involvement in fundraising activities for terrorist purposes in the UK is subject to various factors and is guided by the Terrorism Act 2000 and subsequent legislation, along with sentencing guidelines provided to judges. The severity of the sentence can be influenced by factors such as the amount of funds raised, the intended use of the funds, the level of involvement and knowledge of the individual, and the impact or potential impact on public safety and national security.

 

Aggravating factors are elements considered by the judge that may increase the seriousness of the offence and could lead to a more severe sentence. Examples include:

 

  • Direct evidence that the funds were used or intended for use in carrying out terrorist acts.
  • The defendant playing a leading role in a group involved in fundraising for terrorist purposes.
  • A large amount of money being raised and/or multiple fundraising activities being involved.
  • Previous convictions for terrorism-related offences or a history of involvement in such activities.

 

Mitigating factors, conversely, are elements that may reduce the defendant’s culpability and lead to a more lenient sentence. Examples include:

 

  • Limited involvement or a lesser role in the fundraising activities.
  • Lack of knowledge or understanding that the funds would be used for terrorist purposes, if this can be proven.
  • Genuine remorse and willingness to cooperate with law enforcement authorities.

 

The defendant being coerced or intimidated into participating in the fundraising activities.

The specific sentence will depend on the individual circumstances of the case, with judges having discretion within the legal framework. Sentences for such offences can be severe, reflecting the serious nature of the offence and its potential impact on national security and public safety. The sentencing aims to punish the offender, deter others from similar conduct, protect the public, and where possible, rehabilitate the offender.

 

Will I go to prison if it is my first time committing the offence of terrorist fundraising?

 

Whether a first-time offender will go to prison for being involved in fundraising for terrorist purposes depends on a range of factors. Imprisonment is a potential outcome, but it is not guaranteed, even for first-time offenders. The sentencing decision is influenced by the specifics of the offence, such as the amount of funds raised, the intended use of these funds, the offender’s level of involvement and knowledge, and the presence of any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.

 

Where to get more help

 

Skilled solicitors specialising in defence against terrorism-related charges can offer expert advice, devise a strong defence plan, and safeguard your rights during the judicial proceedings. Legal representation of this nature is essential for such a serious crime. For a free and confidential discussion about your case, contact the team at Stuart Miller Solicitors today.

OUR COMMITMENTS TO YOU:

  • Responsive

    A legal expert will consult you within 24 hours of making an enquiry.

  • Empathetic

    We will always treat you with trust, understanding and respect.

  • Specialised

    Your case will be handled by an expert who specialises in your type of offence.

  • Proactive

    We will take early action to end proceedings as soon as it is practically and legally possible to do so.

  • Engaged

    You will be kept updated on your case at all times. We will provide a named contact available to answer your questions.

  • Caring

    We understand this is a difficult and stressful time for you and your family. Our team will support you every step of the way.

  • Tenacious

    We will never give up on your case. We fight tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome.

Google Rating
4.6
Based on 339 reviews
×
js_loader

Further Reading

Emergency?

Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.