Lee Rigby murder trial: Live updates as jurors told to ignore Russell Brand’s comments on case
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All the latest from the Old Bailey where the two men are on trial accused of murdering the British soldier in Woolwich
Mr Gottlieb asked the jury to watch the footage of Adebolajo’s ‘infamous rant’ without any sound.
He said: “It is actually positively Shakespearean. It is like a scene out of Macbeth, his hands are steeped in blood.
“Ask yourself what actually is his intention when he is speaking.”
He asked jurors to put themselves in Adebolajo’s skin ‘and see the world with his eyes and walk around in his shoes.”
“What drove him what forced him to commit this crime? That is an awkward question for our political leaders.
“Is it the prosecution’s case he is a one-off, or is it actually that we are living in a society where somebody who is very bright is effectively wandering round with no stake in the country whatsoever?”
Mr Gottlieb asked the jury to resist the “pressure from the world, the mob to convict.”
He also described the attempted murder charge against Adebolajo as “possibly most ridiculous charge ever put before a judge and jury in the history of this country.”
The barrister then compared Adebolajo’s run towards police with the Charge of the Light Brigade and quoted from Tennyson’s poem.
David Gottlieb, representing Adebolajo, continued his closing speech by making a series of corrections to what he said this morning.
They included wrongly claiming the prosecution described the attack on Lee Rigby as ‘the cruellest and most sadistic killing’, when they actually described it as ‘cowardly and callous’.
He told the jury: “If you look at all the evidence, all of my client’s actions, all of what he said, all of what he’s done, the prosecution cannot quite prove that intention.
“I appreciate that in any other case this would be a flimsy argument but you are actually free to acquit my client.
“I am trying to establish you genuinely have a choice. You are free to acquit.
“How do I show you are free to acquit by going through all the evidence?”
Mr Gottlieb added: “All I am doing is asking you to be fair to my client, to at least make the effort to go through the evidence and see where it leads.”
Mr Gottlieb told the jury that they had to decide if Adebolajo had ‘honestly described his beliefs.’
He said: “If he hasn’t, you can walk into the jury room and walk back out and find them guilty of both counts.
“If he has honestly described his views, do they in any way show that at all relevant times he has been in the grip of an external influence such that he is not able to form the necessary intention?”
Mr Gottlieb then quoted Adebolajo’s evidence in which he claimed to be ‘obeying a command of Allah.’
“It appears that my client is saying at all times he did what he did not because he had a choice but because it was ordained by God.”
He told jurors: “It is not justice to reach a false verdict if the evidence does not prove murder.”
The barrister also complained that Adebolajo had been demonised for the last six months.
Mr Gottlieb will continue his speech after lunch.
During his speech Mr Gottlieb attacked politicians for using the Lee Rigby murder as a ‘political springboard’.
He also warned jurors not to pay any notice to what the comedian Russell Brand had said about the case.
Mr Gottlieb added: “There is no question of insanity in this case.
“It does mean when you decide what my client’s intention was, isn’t it fair to take into account the full set of his moral, religious and political beliefs, however unreasonable we thing they are?’
He said there were ‘big questions’ about the war in Afghanistan and why ‘a British person who supports British values has been driven to commit a murder.’
David Gottlieb, representing Adebolajo, began his speech by saying: “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, taken literally, makes the world blind and it has to stop.
“Vengeance, bloodletting, getting even for one person’s death, it has to stop and the way we stop it in our country, the way we have always stopped it is by a public trial in front of an independent judge so that you the people can make the final decision.”
He told the court that “there has never been a case like this in British history”.
12:25 pm After Mr Whittam concluded his speech, the jury left court for a short break before the beginning of the defence closing speech on behalf of Michael Adebolajo.
Mr Whittam asked the jury to find the two men guilty of both the murder of Lee Rigby and attempted murder of the police officers.
He added: “The evidence in relation to count one [murder] is clear. You will have to consider how they both behaved in relation to counts three and four.
“They were clearly acting together. There can be more than one intention, including the intention to achieve martyrdom by taking down somebody with you.”
Finishing his closing speech, Mr Whittam said: “What these two men did, crashing their car and breaking the back of Lee Rigby and then killing him is indefensible in the law of this country.”
He went on: “Killing to make a political point, to frighten the public, to put pressure on the Government or as an expression of anger is murder and remains murder whether the government in question is a good one, a bad one, or a dreadful one.”
Mr Whittam told jurors: “Justice is the gilt statue that adorns the dome on this great building. She is 12 feet high has a span of 8 feet wide. Unlike her American counterparts she is not blindfolded.
“She is a justice that sees all and comes to a just conclusion on all the evidence.
“The actions of these two men, crashing a car into and breaking the back of Lee Rigby and then killing him, is indefensible in the law of this country.
“Killing to make a political point, to frighten the public or put pressure on the public, or as an expression of anger, is murder and remains murder whether the government is a good one or a bad one.
“There is no defence of moral justification or religions justification. An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, suggests revenge.”
The prosecutor told jurors that Adebolajo refused to say in police interview how he knew Lee Rigby was a soldier.
Mr Whittam told jurors: “He [Adebolajo] conceded they thought he was a soldier but they didn’t know whether he was a medic, a teacher, support staff in the barracks. They hoped he was a soldier.”
The prosecutor claimed Adebolajo displayed an ‘arrogance’ in his police interview, speaking uninterrupted and refusing to answer questions.
Mr Whittam told jurors not to be ‘seduced’ by the killers’ claim that they were confronted by police because they wanted to commit suicide.
“Both waited and both acted together without hesitation. No suggestion they didn’t carry out the plan as intended. Adebolajo raised the weapon above his head and got very close to the vehicle.
“Had he not been shot, what would have happened to that machete? You have seen how he used it earlier that day.”
Meanwhile Adebowale ran along the wall ‘to draw fire’, the court heard.
Mr Whittam said that the motive for the attack was ‘retribution and revenge’.
He played jurors mobile phone footage of Adebolajo at the scene saying: “The only reason we’re doing this is Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers and this British soldier is one of those so an eye for an eye.
Mr Whittam added: “This was being done to influence politicians and intimidate the public.”
Referring to the piece of paper handed to a woman at the scene by Adebolajo, Mr Whittam said: “You will have to consider whether that is a suicide note. It includes the phrase ‘If I live beyond this day’.”
The message also refers to the attack being “retaliation for your aggression in our towns.”
Mr Whittam said: “Was it simply retaliation? If it was, killing someone in broad daylight is murder.”
The prosecutor said the video clips of Adebolajo and Adebowale at the scene showed “clear evidence of them acting together’”
Adebowale made “no attempt to distance himself” from what had happened and could be seen holding a gun, Mr Whittam added.
He pointed out how both men can be seen on the video clips speaking to members of public at the scene.
Mr Whittam played video footage of the attack on Lee Rigby to the jury as part of his closing speech.
It shows the 25 year-old soldier being hit from behind by a Vauxhall Tigra as he crossed the road near Woolwich Barracks.
The prosecutor said that the impact broke Lee Rigby’s back and witnesses described how the soldier did not move again once he landed on the floor.
Mr Whittam said the next part of the killing, including the near-decapitation, “was intended to be played out in public.”
He read from statements by witnesses to the ‘frenzied’ attack, adding: “This was not a movie. This really did happen.”
Beginning his closing speech, prosecutor Richard Whittam QC said that according to Adebolajo: “Lee Rigby was slain by a mujahideen who struck his neck with a sharp instrument and sawed until his head almost became detached.
“That is how he viewed the first part of his actions. It will be for you to decide the evidence in this case and to consider his acceptance that both he and his co-defendant are responsible for killing Lee Rigby.
“He denies murder and he does not accept the barbarous reality of what they did and the intimidation of the public and all those present.”
Mr Whittam added: “Islam, one of the world’s great religions, is not on trial and nor could it be.”
Mr Justice Sweeney told the jury that nothing said by Adebolajo in his evidence amounts in law to a defence to the charge of murder.
He said: “I have ruled that nothing said by the first defendant and… his evidence – in short he was a soldier of Allah and was justified in doing what he did – amounts in law to a defence to this count.
“So nothing that he has said amounts in law to a defence to count one.”
He added: “Both defence counsel must and will respect that ruling in their speeches.”
He added: “That said the onus remains on the prosecution to prove, so that you feel sure, the required elements of that offence against each defendant.
“It remains open to defence counsel to argue in their speeches in relation to count one [murder] that the prosecution have failed to prove one or more of these elements.”
The alleged killers of soldier Lee Rigby no longer face a charge of conspiracy to murder a police officer, the jury was told today.
Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, still face counts of murder and attempted murder of a police officer, which they both deny.
Both men are accused of running Fusilier Rigby down in a car and then hacking him to death with a meat cleaver and knives near Woolwich Barracks in south east London on May 22.
Mr Justice Sweeney told jurors at the Old Bailey that they were discharged from any further consideration of a count of conspiracy to murder a police officer.