Lawyer who 'recruited Iraqis for claims against UK troops' faces fraud charges

Phil Shiner allegedly used cold calling and paid referral fees

Former human rights lawyer Phil Shiner denies fraud charges linked to claims made against British Iraq War veterans. PA
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A British lawyer who allegedly recruited Iraqis in his pursuit of human rights abuse claims against UK troops appeared in court on Monday charged with fraud.

The now stuck-off solicitor Phil Shiner denied the charges linked to claims made against the soldiers who served in southern Iraq during the US-led occupation.

Mr Shiner, 65, former director of now-defunct Public Interest Lawyers, faced Solicitors Regulation Authority proceedings in 2017.

On Monday, he appeared before Westminster Magistrates' Court by video link and pleaded not guilty to three counts of fraud which were brought following a five-year National Crime Agency investigation.

Mr Shiner, of Birmingham, gave his name, age, and address and said “not guilty, sir” as the charges were put to him.

He 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.

He is also said to have “been 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 checkpoint in Al Amara, southern Iraq, in May 2004.

The battle gave rise to claims against British soldiers after an order was given to move the Iraqi dead from the scene to a nearby camp along with nine prisoners of war.

The detained, who were insurgents with the Shia militia Mahdi Army, claimed they were mistreated and heard the torture and murder of their compatriots.

Among the dead was Hamid Al Sweady, 19, whose name was lent to a public inquiry after his uncle Khuder Al Sweady claimed he was murdered at the British camp.

Mr Shiner is facing two charges of dishonestly failing to disclose information relating to Mr 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, Mr Shiner allegedly failed to disclose that he “had been engaging in cold calling and the payment of referral fees”.

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”.

Updated: June 27, 2022, 11:55 AM