Thursday, February 26, 2004

Katharine Gun walks free!

For people who didn't know, she's the GCHQ translator who blew the whistle on British spying at the UN in the lead-up to the war (information has since come to light about how this was used to scupper a last-minute peace deal). She was being charged under the Official Secrets Act. Interestingly, rather than simply drop the charges, the prosecution entered no evidence, so she got an official verdict of "not guilty".

Why did the British government back away from prosecution? No-one is certain, but the most likely explanation is that they didn't like what would come out at trial - specifically, legal advice to the government from their Attorney General on the legality of the war. Alternatively, the government thought that a jury would never convict. Either way, it's a stunning victory, and it also shows that the British government has one hell of a guilty conscience in this area.