Australia drops terror charge against doctor
AUSTRALIAN authorities today dropped a terror charge against an Indian-born doctor accused of supporting the failed bomb attacks on London and Glasgow.
Mohamed Haneef, 27, had been accused of giving "reckless support" to terrorism by giving his mobile phone SIM card to a relative implicated in the plot.
Australia's director of Public Prosecutions Damian Bugg said that, following a review of the case, "a mistake has been made".
Mr Bugg told a press conference that he withdrew the charges because he was satisfied "there was no reasonable prospect of conviction".
The case of Dr Haneef, who had been working as a registrar at the Gold Coast Hospital in Queensland, has sparked concerns from legal and civil rights groups.
He is still facing possible deportation after immigration minister Kevin Andrews cancelled his visa on character grounds.
Mr Bugg said today: "In the circumstances of this case I do not believe that evidence to prove the case to the requisite standard will be obtained," he said.
"On my view of the matter a mistake has been made."
Dr Haneef's second cousin Sabeel Ahmed, 26, has been charged in the UK with withholding information that could prevent an act of terrorism. His brother, Kafeel Ahmed, remains critically ill with severe burns after a Jeep was crashed into the doors of the arrivals hall at Glasgow Airport on June 30.
Dr Haneef has denied knowing anything about the British bomb plot, and told police he only gave his SIM card to his cousin so he could take advantage of extra minutes left on the account.
Prosecutors had claimed that the SIM card had been found in the burning Jeep. But the case came under question after it later emerged the card had actually been found in a flat in Liverpool.
Dr Haneef had been arrested at Brisbane airport on July 2 trying to board a flight to India with a one-way ticket within days of the failed attacks. He told police he was rushing to join his family because his daughter had been born a few days earlier by emergency Caesarean section.
Dr Haneef's solicitor Peter Russo said today he would fight any move to have his client deported following the dropping of the charges.
The development comes as two doctors charged over the failed attacks were set to appear at the Old Bailey.
Bilal Abdullah, 27, and Mohammed Asha, 26, are accused of conspiracy to cause explosions.
Abdullah, an Iraqi, was arrested at the scene of the airport attack. Asha, of Newcastle-under-Lyme, was arrested on the M6 motorway in Cheshire later that day.
The previous day, police discovered two cars laden with gas canisters and fuel parked in central London.
The men are accused of conspiring between January 1 and July 1 to cause explosions "of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious injury".
Security checks skipped in junior medic crisis
SOME foreign doctors will be allowed to work in hospitals from next week without undergoing full security checks because of delays caused by the junior doctor recruitment debacle, it was reported today.
One NHS trust said the "chaotic" system meant it only received the names of its new junior doctors within the last ten days.
It comes after Prime Minister Gordon Brown ordered the new security minister, Admiral Sir Alan West, to examine potential failings in NHS overseas recruitment procedures in the wake of last month's attempted terrorist attacks on London and Glasgow Airport.
Jeremy Levy, director of medical education at the Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust, was reported as saying today: "Because the system is so chaotic, we have only been told of the identity of junior doctors starting with us over the last 10 days.
"Last year we were given three months' notice, and so we could check their names with time to spare. But this year we will have to start employing some doctors without any."
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