Times ‘Lawyer of Week’ – Client Accused Of Being A September 11 Mastermind

LawFuel – The Times’ ‘Lawyer of the Week’ is Jules Carey, head of civil liberties (London) at Tuckers Solicitors. Carey acted for Lotfi Raissi, the pilot who was wrongly accused of being the chief instructor and mastermind behind the September 11 hijackers. The Court of Appeal ruled that he is completely exonerated of terror allegations and the Home Secretary is required to reconsider his application for compensation.

What were the main challenges in this case and the possible implications?

Mr Raissi’s instructions were daunting — but understandably so. He made it clear that he would not settle for anything less than complete exoneration, an apology and restitution. We have now finally got the exoneration and are working on the others. The main challenge of the case has been to prevent the very compelling facts being submerged by highly technical legal arguments. The Court of Appeal was uncompromising — it described the extradition proceedings as an abuse of process having been brought for an ulterior motive. The identification of the causes of this miscarriage of justice are likely to result in a fundamental overhaul of the systems and procedures of the police and Crown Prosecution Service.

What was your worst day as a lawyer?

Sitting next to Mr Raissi in court listening to the Home Secretary’s counsel argue that Mr Raissi had not been completely exonerated. This was despite the extradition judge in 2002 saying that there had been “no evidence” whatsoever to support the allegation that Mr Raissi was a terrorist.

What was your most memorable experience as a lawyer?

The week of this case will take some beating.

Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?

My wife Vick, who has been my soulmate since we were 19 and always brings out the best in me. My folks and a troupe of uncles worked hard to put me on track and harder to keep me there.

Why did you become a lawyer?

As a teenager I worked in a bleak refugee detention camp in Hong Kong. The human drama at the camp and the legal issues surrounding it drew me towards civil liberties law.

What would your advice be to anyone wanting a career in law?

Work out if there is an area of law that will get you up in the morning before applying to the law school.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In the past six years there has been an unprecedented expansion of the State into the life of the individual. Parliament has significantly failed to protect rights we have enjoyed for hundreds of years. Unless this trend is reversed soon, in ten years’ time I will be viewed on a surveillance monitor playing football in the park with my wonderful boys teasing me about how old school I sound going on about civil liberties.

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