British businessman Karl Watkins has failed for a second time in his attempts to launch a private prosecution against two terror suspects due for extradition to the United States.
It is said the private prosecutions are designed to entangle the pair in a legal battle over here to further delay their extradition.
Babar Ahmad and Syed Ahsan have been charged in America with providing material to support terrorism, conspiring to kill Unites States citizens and money laundering.
The charges relate to a period when the pair were involved in the running of a website, Azzam.com. The website was known to support the Taliban and Chechen rebels.
Mr Ahmad has been detained in the UK without trial for eight years, and Mr Ahsan six years, whilst fighting their extradition.
The legal wrangling in the case centres on the fact that under the Extradition Act 2003 the US does not need to supply any evidence to request the extradition of a UK citizen. In addition, although the offences were committed on UK soil, the UK authorities feel they have insufficient information to prosecute the pair here because the website (and all its data) was hosted in the US.
Last month the European Court of Human Rights finally approved the extradition of five terrorism suspects, including Mr Ahmad and Mr Ahsan, on the basis that they were unlikely to encounter inhuman and degrading punishment in a US jail.
Yesterday's developments in this case highlight the use of private prosecutions and begs the question what are they and how do they come about?
The Crown Prosecution Service is a government-funded agency, which invariably brings prosecutions in criminal cases in England and Wales.
The CPS was set up in 1986 to prosecute cases investigated by the police, to advise the police on the cases they believe are strong enough to succeed and to determine the appropriate charges in complex and serious cases.
However, section six of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 also allows individuals to bring a private prosecution under criminal law if they wish to. This provision is subject to further law, which states that the Director of Public Prosecutions or the Attorney General has the right to discontinue a prosecution if they think it appropriate to do so.
A private prosecution can be stopped if it is felt either that the evidence in the case is not strong enough to support a prosecution, or if the public interest outweighs the prosecution going ahead.
In the case of Mr Ahmad and Mr Ahsan the DPP announced in September that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the pair in the UK and therefore refused the request of Mr Watkin to bring a private prosecution in a UK court.
At Westminster Magistrates' Court yesterday Chief Magistrate Mr Riddle refused a second request to bring a private prosecution by Mr Watkin's legal team, saying that it was an abuse of legal process.
"Bearing in mind all the factors that have been drawn to my attention, I am satisfied that it is not in the interests of justice to issue these proceedings," Mr Riddle told the court.
"In this case I am satisfied that the purpose of these proposed proceedings is to stop or delay extradition of the two named proposed defendants to the USA," he added.
Civil rights groups have denounced the decision, saying that extradition for trial in the US for crimes committed here undermines public confidence in the criminal justice system.
Private terror case bid against Babar Ahmad and Syed Ahsan rejected (The Independent)
DPP refuses consent to private prosecution of Babar Ahmad and Syed Ahsan for terrorism offences (Crown Prosecution Service)