United Kingdom

Ministry of Defence worker 'leaked secrets that could be useful to Britain's enemies'

Jurors have been sworn in for the trial of a Ministry of Defence worker accused of leaking secrets that would 'useful to an enemy,' of the state as well as refusing to to give police access to his electronics.

Simon Finch, 50, denies breaching the Official Secrets Act by making a 'damaging disclosure,' and allegedly recording compromising information.  

He also denies refusing to hand over access to electronic devices to investigating officers after working for the government department as well as private companies BAE Systems and Qinetiq.

Simon Finch, 50, is accused of unlawfully recorded secret information and then disclosing it. Jurors heard the secrets would have been 'useful to an enemy' of the state

Finch appeared in the dock wearing tinted glasses and a yellow top as 14 jurors were sworn in ahead of the trial opening tomorrow.

After being assured that the trial was complying with social distancing measures, jurors were briefly introduced to facts of the case, including Finch's history of working in the defence industry.

Justice Whipple said: 'He's 50 years old, he's worked in a variety of employments connected broadly with the defence industry including the Ministry of Defence and for two private companies.

'They're called BAE systems and Qinetiq. He faces three charges.

'Two of them are that he breached the Official Secrets Act, the first because it is said he unlawfully recorded certain secret information which he had access to in the course of his employment, the second because it is said he made an unlawful disclosure of that information.'

The judge added that the third charge was that he 'failed to comply' with police by refusing to give them passwords to his electronic devices.

Jurors were read the names of eight witnesses who will give evidence in the trial and were asked to recuse themselves if they had any connection or prior knowledge to the individuals mentioned.

Finch, of Swansea, denies recording information for any purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state which was calculated to be or might be or was intended to be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy.

Finch's trial is due to start tomorrow and last for around four weeks. The 50-year-old from Swansea denies all charges against him

He also denies making a damaging disclosure relating to defence which was in his possession by virtue of his position as crown servant or government contractor, and failing to comply with a disclosure notice by knowingly failing to make disclosure as required by that notice which would facilitate access to three electronic devices.

The trial is expected to last four weeks and is due to open tomorrow.

Finch will be represented by Stuart Trimmer QC while Mark Heywood QC prosecutes.

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