High Court: Man facing terror charges diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome

A man accused of preparing acts of terrorism and claiming “all Muslims must die” has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a court has heard.

Richard Smith, 28, is charged with engaging in preparations “with the intention of committing acts of terrorism” between August 2018 and November 2019 at addresses in Aberdeen and elsewhere in Scotland.

He is accused of possessing and making explosive substances and powders and possessing a quantity of military-style clothing and weapons.

Smith is charged with conducting online research into the manufacture of explosive substances, improvised detonators and improvised explosive devices.

It is also alleged he created and possessed texts, videos and guides relating to matters such as paramilitary survival and resistance, combat techniques and “advancing anti-Muslim, neo Nazi and other racist causes”.

He is further accused of collecting or recording information “of a kind likely to be useful to someone committing or preparing an act of terrorism”, relating to matters such as the manufacture and use of firearms and other weaponry and the practice of guerrilla warfare.

One charge is contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000 and the other comes under the Terrorism Act 2006.

Smith, who denies all charges against him, is also accused of texting a relative stating that “all Muslims must die” and sending images associated with the Nazi party and messages containing “grossly offensive” language to another person.

He also faces a charge under the Poisons Act 1972 and one under the Explosive Substances Act 1883.

At a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow on Thursday, Ronnie Renucci QC, representing Smith, said his client was diagnosed with Asperger’s after the defence was given authority to have him examined by an expert.

He said: “I became concerned at his presentation and wondered whether or not he was on the autistic spectrum.

“A supplementary report is now required as to the impact of that diagnosis on Mr Smith’s behaviour and the relation to the charges that he faces and the amount of material that he had accumulated.”

Lord Matthews asked: “As far as Asperger’s is concerned is that likely to give rise of a question of fitness for trial?”

Mr Renucci replied: “I’m not anticipating that.”

Smith did not attend the hearing in person.

The case was continued to a further hearing on August 13.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992