Civil servant ‘broke Official Secrets’

A senior civil servant has been fined £2,500 after admitting breaching the Official Secrets Act by leaving top-secret documents on a commuter train last summer.

Richard Jackson, from Yateley, Hampshire, reportedly left two highly sensitive intelligence files with information relating to al-Qaida and Iraq on the train between London Waterloo and Surrey.

The 37-year-old entered his guilty plea while appearing at the City of Westminster magistrates’ court on Tuesday.
The court heard that Mr Jackson had inadvertently taken the files home and was “physically sick” when he realised they had been lost.

Neil Saunders, defending, said the civil servant was under “extreme pressure at this time and it may well be partly because of his own role, the team he was leading and the work he was being asked to conduct that he has made this gross error of judgment”.

Mr Jackson apparently did not report the loss of the files until the following day because his immediate bosses were abroad, a decision criticised by the prosecution.

Deborah Walsh, prosecuting, said: “This delay in reporting delayed any action to recover the files. There’s ample evidence that Mr Jackson failed to take such care to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of the documents as somebody in his position may reasonably be expected to take.”

Mr Jackson was on secondment from the Ministry of Defence at the time of the intelligence breach and as well as the fine was ordered to pay £250 costs today.