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No legal aid for 7/7 bomber's widow

The widow of one of the 7/7 suicide bombers has lost her High Court bid to overturn a decision refusing her legal aid for representation at the upcoming inquest into the deaths of 52 people in the attacks in London in 2005.

Two judges in London dismissed the challenge by Hasina Patel, whose husband was part of the plot mastermind Mohammed Sidique Khan, over the refusal to provide her with funding.

It had been argued on her behalf at a hearing earlier this week that the decision to deny her legal aid was "unfair, irrational and unlawful".

But Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Silber said the decision by the Lord Chancellor "cannot be described as unreasonable or irrational".

Lord Justice Thomas said the court was told that Ms Patel's position "was that she was interested to understand why her late husband and the other bombers acted as they did" and that what she was seeking "was an opportunity to ask questions of witnesses at the inquest which bore on their knowledge and experience of her husband and others".

The judge said: "Far from providing any information that might assist the wider public interest, she has flatly and unequivocally declined the opportunity to do so.

"Although requested by this court to show how she could help establish why her late husband and the others whom she knew acted to murder fellow citizens, she has provided not an iota of evidence to us which could show how in some way she could bring a wider benefit let alone a significant benefit to the inquests or to the understanding of the victims of the bombing."

He said there was "no basis on which the Lord Chancellor could properly have come to any decision other than the one he had reached".

Families of the victims of the 7/7 bombings later expressed "relief" at the decision.

Clifford Tibber of Anthony Gold solicitors said: "This decision is a huge relief for the families. The thought of Ms Patel receiving public funding and the threat of her applying to take part in the inquests has added a new level of unnecessary stress."


From Belfast Telegraph