26 February 2004

Charges dropped against GCHQ translator

After the prosecution offered no evidence, the judge, the Recorder of London Michael Hyam, recorded a formal verdict of not guilty.

Then 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, where she had worked until she was sacked in June last year. She was charged in November on an unconditional bail.

For her defence, she had planned to seek the disclosure of the full advice from the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, on the legality of the war against Iraq, which could have been potentially damaging and embarrassing for the government.

Why cannot Goldsmith's advice be published? Surely it's a bit late for it to contain anything that would impair national security? And why did the Blair government decide, as compassionate social democrats, that a whistleblower should face 8 months of hell?

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