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“Where a prosecutor or defendant intend to apply for an order for all or part of the trial to be held in
camera for reasons of national security or for the protection of the identity of a witness or any other
So, clearly, those factors apply when I am considering the case of Mr. E.
The Solicitor has drawn my attention to the certificate signed by the Home Secretary, The Right
Honourable Mr. Kenneth Clarke, Q.C. and that detailed document indicates his fears that disclosure
of anything to do with the gathering of information could cause damage, as he puts it “unquantifiable
damage”, and that damage would in fact damage national security.
A certain amount of information has already been disclosed to the defence about tradecraft
specifically in the Court having examined some documents, ex parte, and the relevant part of a
sensitive document which came into the hands of the British intelligence services from a friendly
power which emanated from an unfriendly power, has been disclosed.
The Crown further says that in this sensitive area it is extremely difficult to know whether a single
piece of information, of itself apparently innocuous and incidental, might enable an unfriendly power
to fit together information it already had which could, in fact, prejudice the national security of this
Against that, Mr. Tansey for the defendant submits that here we are not just dealing with some
unfriendly country, we are dealing with Russia, now that the cold war has ended that Russia is no
longer a potential enemy but is, indeed, a friend and, therefore, he submits that any information
which might possibly be gained by them would not prejudice our national security.
In the Court’s view this is taking too narrow a view of the words “prejudicing the national security”.
There are many ways in which national security can be prejudiced; they can be both direct and
indirect, and I do not consider that argument advanced by Mr. Tansey is one that finds favour with
the Court.
He further says that on analysis the evidence-in-chief of the evidence to be called, or wishing to be
called by the Crown both of Mrs. C and of Mr. Gordievsky is in the public domain. It must be clear,
he says, that Mr. Gordievsky, having defected now for many years, has disclosed all he knows
about tradecraft to the Western intelligence agencies and therefore there is nothing that can be
disclosed in his evidence-in-chief that can possibly now be prejudicial to national security. He
repeats the argument in respect of Mrs. C effectively on the basis of there being a number of
defectors from Russia and the USSR prior to that to the Western agencies and, clearly, their
information would have reached the hands of the intelligence agencies and they can, therefore, be
presumed to know all about it.
That argument on the face of it is attractive, but against that it must be remembered that here we are
dealing with precise information relating to documentary evidence that purports to have been seized
by the prosecuting authorities from Mr. Smith. That information is precise and the interpretation is
precise. While I recognise that there is clearly a paragraph or two of Mr. Gordievsky’s evidence,
generally about him being a Russian agent, which I accept can be given in open court, in public
which is a thumb nail sketch of his history up to 1989. Thereafter, when he turns to deal with his
specialised knowledge and the knowledge dealing either with documents that are exhibits, any
documents that are exhibits in this case, I am satisfied on the information before me that it would be
prejudicial to the national safety to allow that evidence to be given in public.