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Date set for Hamza trial

AN OLD Bailey judge last week set a trial date of 16 May 2005 for Alexandria Library engineer Dr Mamdouh Hamza, who is charged with soliciting the murders of four high ranking Egyptian politicians (NCE 29 July).

At a 15 minute pleas and directions hearing held at the Old Bailey on 1 September, Hamza pleaded not guilty to the four charges presented.

He is accused of soliciting an individual described only as 'Tommy' to commit the murders.

The prosecution team asked the judge to give it an extra month to collect more 'background evidence'.

The defence did not contest the request, but countered with a demand for a matching extension to allow any fresh evidence amassed by the prosecution to be assessed.

Both requests were agreed.

The judge estimated the trial would last at least three weeks.

Hamza, a world-famous geotechnical engineer and Fellow of the ICE, remains on bail until the trial, but must report to a London police station every day.

A request to extend the reporting hours so that Hamza could visit his son at Cambridge University was also granted. He will also attempt to manage his Cairo-based consultancy from his London base.

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