February 26, 2004

Charges dropped against UK Whistleblower

"Katharine Gun demanded an explanation today after the case against her of disclosing information and breaking the Official Secrets Act collapsed after the prosecution offered no evidence.

"Ms Gun, a former translator for GCHQ, the security service's main monitoring centre, had been accused of leaking a memo to a newspaper on an alleged American 'dirty tricks' campaign to spy on UN delegates ahead of the Iraq war...

"Ben Emmerson QC, representing Ms Gun, demanded an explanation from the prosecution of why, after such a length of time, they had now decided to drop the charge. Mr Ellison refused to say.

"A full trial could have generated unwelcome publicity for the government and GCHQ.

Following the collapse of the trial, the Guardian newspaper has learned that "a key plank of the defence presented to the prosecutors shortly before they decided to abandon the case was new evidence that the legality of the war had been questioned by the Foreign Office.

"It is contained in a document seen by the Guardian. Sensitive passages are blacked out, but one passage says: "The defence believes that the advice given by the Foreign Office Legal Adviser expressed serious doubts about the legality (in international law) of committing British troops in the absence of a second [UN] resolution."


Blog Archive