Disgraced lawyer Phil Shiner to face fraud trial over claims UK soldiers abused Iraqis

The former human rights figure had filed lawsuits on behalf of Iraqis accusing British troops of torture and murder

Phil Shiner denies fraud charges linked to claims made against British veterans of the Iraq War. PA
Powered by automated translation

Disgraced lawyer Phil Shiner, who alleged that British soldiers had brutalised Iraqis, is to stand trial for fraud.

Mr Shiner, 65, was told that his trial, which is expected to last eight weeks, is set for September next year.

He pleaded not guilty to four charges relating to the fallout from the defunct Al Sweady inquiry, which was set up by the government to examine claims that British troops killed Iraqi civilians.

The £25 million ($28 million) inquiry 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”.

Mr Shiner faces an allegation that in September 2007 he “dishonestly failed to disclose” in a legal aid application for a hearing to demand the setting up of the Al-Sweady inquiry that he had been “engaging in cold calling and the payment of referral fees”.

A second charge alleges Mr Shiner committed fraud in October 2007 by failing to disclose that he had obtained a statement that he had “obtained through cold calling” and that the statement was used to obtain legal aid.

He is also accused of committing fraud by false representation in 2015 in response to a question from the Solicitors Regulatory Authority, which he "knew was untrue and misleading", so he could continue to work as a lawyer.

The charges are also related to 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”.

The Battle of Danny Boy was a firefight between British soldiers and Iraqi insurgents that took place in Amarah in 2004.

The charges against Mr Shiner follow a five-year investigation by the National Crime Agency.

Mr Shiner, who founded and ran the now-defunct law firm Public Interest Lawyers, was struck off for dishonesty and other offences by the SRA in 2017 for pursuing false torture and murder allegations against British troops.

He was declared bankrupt in 2017.

Mr Shiner, who was once voted Human Rights Lawyer of the Year, was responsible for bringing thousands of criminal complaints to the Iraq Historic Investigations Team, a body set up by the Ministry of Defence to investigate soldiers.

No military personnel were ever charged and the Iraq Historic Investigations Team folded in 2017 after being labelled a "failure".

Judge Gregory Perrins has granted Mr Shiner bail on condition that he lives and sleeps at his address until his trial.

Updated: November 23, 2022, 12:07 PM