MoD analyst who 'leaked top secret intelligence' likened himself to Stephen Lawrence, court hears

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A former Ministry of Defence analyst accused of leaking top secret intelligence compared himself to murder victim Stephen Lawrence following two homophobic assaults, a court heard. 

Simon Finch, 50, had access to 'highly sensitive' details about a missiles project while he worked for defence contractors BAE Systems and QinetiQ between 1999 and 2018.

He wrote down the classified information about the weapons system - still in use by the armed forces today - from memory and emailed it to nine recipients, prosecutors claim.

The Old Bailey heard today that Tory MP Damien Moore and trade union Unite were among those who received the documents.

Jurors have heard Finch also passed documents to 'a number of hostile foreign governments'.

The email contained several attachments detailing his perceived mistreatment at the hands of police and his reasons for taking 'very great pleasure' in sharing the security information.

Finch said he had been 'tortured' by officers while in custody at Copy Lane police station in Merseyside, claiming he was stripped naked and dragged across the floor in February 2016.

Simon Finch, from Swansea, denies breaching the Official Secrets Act by making a 'damaging' disclosure and recording information which could be 'useful to an enemy' of the state

He wrote that he had been left with bruises after the ordeal in which he was forced to defecate on the floor of the station when he was refused immediate access to the toilet, the court heard.

The former analyst claimed he had been subjected to two serious homophobic assaults spaced six weeks apart in 2013 which left him unable to leave the house for two years.

Finch is accused of releasing three types of classified information 

The prosecutor told jurors that material fell into three categories of sensitivity - official, secret and top secret - and that Finch leaked material of the highest possible confidentiality.

He said painstaking efforts were made to protect the information against ‘sophisticated’ and ‘violent’ attacks to get hold of it.

‘Official, above that secret and above that top secret,’ said Mr Heywood.

‘These are intended to indicate the level of the sensitivity of the information involved, and also the level of safeguard which should relate to that information.

‘Just to give you a flavour at this stage, official covers most government information.

‘In the case of secret information, it’s designed to be protected against highly capable threats.

‘The designation of top secret relates to information which directly requires extremely high assurance of protection from threats of all kinds, including the most determined and sophisticated, even violent attacks to get hold of it.’

Finch said that his attackers had threatened him with knives and told him they would 'beat him to death' because they thought he was gay, it was said.

'I suffered two life threatening attacks. The first in a Wetherspoons by a group of eastern European men... then I was pursued by 15 to 20 people,' Finch allegedly wrote.

He claimed when he reported the incident to officers they told him: 'You can't report a homophobic hate crime if you're not gay' and 'triviliased' his concerns about his safety, the court heard.

Finch compared himself to murder victim Stephen Lawrence when police asked him for the names of his assailants, it was said.

After he tried to seek protection at BAE Systems, the employers forwarded his details to police who attended his home address, the court heard.

'BAE totally ignored my calls of discrimniation and passed my address to Merseyside Police.

'They (the police) again made an excuse, this time saying you can't report a hate crime without a name.

'I know that's not true because does that mean that Stephen Lawrence wasn't killed by hate crime because he was killed by strangers and wouldn't be able to name them either?' Finch wrote in a document attached to the email.

The accused 'spy' began seeing a work counsellor after the alleged assaults and told her he had started carrying nunchucks in self-protection during a meeting in July 2015, it was said.

He claimed the worker laughed at him and told him: 'Just go out for the night and don't take those silly silly nunchucks' before he threatened to arm himself with a knife instead, it was said.

Writing in another of the attached documents, Finch allegedly said: 'When I told her her response was to laugh at me saying just go out for the night and don't take those silly nunchucks.

'I just wanted my safety to be taken seriously so I immediately replied would you take it more seriously if I was carrying a knife and her response was a shocked intake of breath.

'I had awful dreams of my attackers laughing at the nunchucks as she had and by the end of the week I was carrying a knife.'

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

In January 2016 Finch was drinking in a local pub when he told the barman he was armed with a knife because he had been threatened and 'was suffering hate crimes,' it was said.

Reading from the email, Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, said: 'In January 2016 I did go out against police advice - and he describes how he carried a knife on that occasion and the way he puts it is, ''I visited two local pubs and had a quiet drink in each before returning home.

' ''In the latter the barman asked why I hadn't been in and I said I had been threatened with a knife and was suffering hate crimes which the police refused to investigate and now had to carry a knife.

' ''He called the police without telling me. I didn't want to be carrying a knife.'' '

Finch returned home at 9.30pm before police arrived at his property two hours later, the court was told.

'The barman knew my first name and profession yet it took the officers two hours* (And did they wait outside for two hours specifically to catch me in this state?),' he allegedly wrote.

Detailing his arrest and the alleged 'mistreatment' he suffered at the station, Finch is said to have written: 'On entering the station they brutally yanked forward on the handcuffs, pulling me to my knees, forcing my long johns down til I was completely naked.

'They were so brutal that I still had bruises on my wrists more than a week later. There were about 10 officers on reception but none of them intervened...

'I said I need to use the toilet she refused so I defecated on the station floor in front of around 25 people.

'It was so cold it was impossible to lie down on the mattress... At no point was I offered a chance to speak (to a) solicitor.'

In a separate attached file, Finch detailed a troubled childhood during which he was allegedly subjected frequent 'beatings' and described himself as having a 'timid nature.'

Mr Heywood said: 'He alleges so far as his mother is concerned she didn't intervene (in the beatings).

'He then refers to his teenage years saying he became closer to his grandfather and then how the abuse as he put it took a far darker turn in his teenage years.

'He's referring to his age, 13 and 14, and his views on hunting, his association with a Saboteurs group and how his father disapproved of that.

'He makes observations about his relationships with women and in the second point describes his nature as a timid nature. He talks about his own abilities at school, particularly mathematics and later contact in 1996 at Christmas time with his parents.

'Then employment and the years following university. He speaks of particular details of his employment and what he was doing as part of his work.'

Finch, of Uplands, 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, 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 continues. 

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