Support your local ex-spook

THE FREELANCE very rarely singles out individual new members of the branch for mention. But we have to make an exception for David Shayler, who got a round of applause at the October branch meeting.

That's the David Shayler who appears to merit his own entry in newspaper style-guides: "must always be prefixed `renegade MI5 agent' on first mention". Now he's writing about security, not least his own.

On 6 October the government obtained a finding of contempt of court against Punch magazine for publishing certain of David's allegations about the security services - although "very large amounts" of these had, the Treasury solicitor admitted, already been published. Mr Justice Silber held that the 1997 injunction barring publication of the allegations was not concerned with "national security" - in which field prior publication is usually regarded as a defence - but with protecting the administration of justice. He granted Punch leave to appeal.

David reminds us that he's due to make a brief appearance to plead at the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, on Thursday 2 November. He invites members to show up before 10am to express support for freedom of expression and inform all of the importance of freedom of information.

Nov 2000
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Last modified: 22 October 2000
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