Hilmi-Walli Khalid was accused of making a bomb hoax at The Co-operative Bank that led to Walsall town centre being evacuated by police on local elections day in May 2012.
CCTV footage of the 44-year-old Iraqi showed him visiting the bank on two occasions. On the first occasion Mr Khalid was alleged to have told bank staff that he had been paid £1 million to blow up the building before he moments later gave a member of staff a bunch of flowers and left the bank. Minutes later, Mr Khalid re-entered the bank and left a black bag within the bank before running away. Major disruption followed with an emergency Red Cross station being set up to assist the evacuation. Specialist police officers attended and discovered that within the bag were only cans of tomatoes and kidney beans. When interviewed by police following arrest, Mr Khalid claimed that he had been paid by two unknown Asian men £1 million to place a bomb within the bank to disrupt the local elections day but had not wanted to kill anyone so had replaced the bomb with cans of food.
During the trial Mr Khalid accepted that his version of events to the police was a lie. Mr Khalid contended that he had gone to the bank to activate a new bank card and had bought the staff flowers because they had been previously helpful in opening an account for him. Mr Khalid denied that he had made any threat of there being a “bomb” but instead claimed he had said to a member of bank staff “You have a beautiful bum and it’s worth £1 million”. Mr Khalid claimed he had originally left the bank because he had felt shy on giving the flowers, but returned after realising he had not activated his bankcard as he had intended to do. Mr Khalid stated he had then forgotten his bag.
Following a trial that lasted four days, the jury acquitted Mr Khalid unanimously after one hour of deliberations.
Nicholas was complimented by the trial judge for his conduct in defending Mr Khalid.