Friday, 18 Jun 2021

Former defence worker who disclosed secrets about UK missiles jailed

Mrs Justice Whipple said the ‘duress of circumstance’ defence claimed by Finch could only be made in an ‘extreme case’ where a person faced an ‘impossible choice’.

She said: ‘For example, a spy is kidnapped and told that his wife or child will be murdered if he does not disclose secrets, but it does not avail the disillusioned agent who claimed that someone, somewhere, might one day suffer if he does not make disclosures.’

Finch’s case did not come anywhere near to meeting the threshold of ‘seriousness and imminence of threat’ and other options were open to him, she said.

Previously, the prosecution had said Finch had been motivated by a desire to exact retribution on the British system, which he felt had let him down.

A court heard he went into a ‘downward spiral’ after suffering two alleged homophobic assaults in Merseyside in 2013.

He accused Merseyside Police of failing to investigate or classify the attacks as hate crimes when he reported them later.

The experience led Finch to carry weapons including a set of the traditional martial arts nunchucks, when he went out in public, jurors heard.

In 2016, Finch was handed a suspended sentence after he admitted going out with a hammer and machete.

In February 2018, Finch left his job at BAE Systems and moved to Swansea. In October, he sent the email detailing operational information about the weapons system, which is still in use by the armed forces.

In the message, Finch wrote: ‘Since the UK has refused me any justice, compensation, or even treatment for these appalling crimes then it has no right to expect my loyalty.

‘It is particularly foolish to do this to someone who works upon classified systems, particularly if they are somewhat autistic and have a near-photographic memory.

‘Therefore it gives me very great pleasure to say that I have spent the last ten months documenting SECRET, TOP SECRET and CODEWORD information on the wide range of military systems which I have worked upon.

‘This information has been sent (freely) to a number of hostile foreign governments.

‘If the nation does not care for my security then why should I care for national security?’

The court heard it had not been possible to verify if any classified intelligence had fallen into the hands of foreign governments or hostile groups or individuals.

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