Human rights lawyer Phil Shiner ‘did not reveal he had been cold-calling Iraqis as he pursued British soldiers with false murder and torture claims’
- Phil Shiner, 65, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court over the charges
- He faces three allegations of dishonesty which date back to around 2007
- The charges come after a five-year investigation by the National Crime Agency
- Shiner who spoke to confirm details and deny the charges, was bailed to appear at Southwark Crown Court for plea and trial preparation hearing on July 25
Former human rights lawyer Philip Shiner has appeared in court to deny fraud charges relating to claims made against Iraq War veterans.
Shiner faces three allegations of dishonesty dating back to 2007 following a five-year investigation by the National Crime Agency.
The 65-year-old appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court via video-link. He spoke only to confirm his personal details and deny two charges of dishonestly failing to disclose information and one of fraud by false representation.
Shiner, of Sir Johns Road, Birmingham, was struck off by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in 2017 for pursuing false torture and murder allegations against British troops.
Shiner (pictured) faces three allegations of dishonesty dating back to 2007 following a five-year investigation by the National Crime Agency.
He had 12 charges of misconduct proved against him by an SRA panel.
He brought thousands of criminal complaints to the Iraq Historic Investigations Team (Ihat), which was set up by the Ministry of Defence to investigate soldiers.
The team was shut down in 2017 and no one was ever charged.
The charges were brought to light by the al-Sweady inquiry, also set up by the Government, which examined claims that British troops massacred Iraqi civilians in the Battle of Danny Boy in southern Iraq in May 2004.
The inquiry, which cost £25million, concluded in 2014 that allegations of torture and murder were ‘wholly without foundation and entirely the product of deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility’.
The first two charges carry a maximum sentence of a year behind bars while the third carries a maximum of six months in prison.
John Ojakovoh, prosecuting, told the court the charges were too serious to be dealt with by magistrates.
Richard Thomas, representing Shiner, made no representations during the hearing.
Shiner was bailed to appear at Southwark Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing on July 25.
He must notify the courts of any change in address as a condition of his bail.
District judge Daniel Sternberg said: ‘I accept the position of the parties that the matter is too serious to be dealt with in the magistrates’ court. There are issues of legal and factual complexity.’
The charges were brought to light by the al-Sweady inquiry, also set up by the Government, which examined claims that British troops massacred Iraqi civilians in the Battle of Danny Boy in southern Iraq in May 2004
He also confirmed that Shiner had been granted legal aid for the case.
Shiner is alleged to have committed fraud by false representation in April 2015 in response to a question from the SRA, which he ‘knew was untrue and misleading’, so he could continue to practise as a solicitor, according to court papers.
He was allegedly ‘engaged in the cold calling of clients in Iraq in relation to alleged killings of Iraqi civilians by British Army personnel at the battle of “Danny Boy”.’
Claims were made against British soldiers who took part in the ‘Danny Boy’ battle and were ordered to take the bodies of Iraqi dead from the battlefield and back to a nearby camp, along with nine prisoners of war.
The detainees, part of the Shia militia Mahdi Army, claimed they had been mistreated and heard the torture and murder of their compatriots.
Among the dead was 19-year-old Hamid Al-Sweady, who gave his name to a public inquiry after his uncle Khuder Al-Sweady claimed he had been murdered at the British camp.
Shiner is facing two charges of dishonestly failing to disclose information relating to Khuder Al-Sweady’s legal aid claim over an application for a judicial review of the Ministry of Defence decision not to hold an independent inquiry into his nephew’s death.
Between September 18 and 20, 2007, Shiner is alleged to have failed to disclose that he ‘had been engaging in cold calling and the payment of referral fees’.
And in a letter challenging the decision to refuse funding of the legal aid application, between October 11 and 13 2007, he is said to have enclosed a statement that ‘had been obtained through cold calling’.