IN AN EFFORT TO PREVENT THE COUNTRY’S PUBLIC BROADCASTER FROM REVEALING THE IDENTITY OF A BRITISH INTELLIGENCE OFFICER WORKING ABROAD, THE UK GOVERNMENT USED A RARELY USED “BREACH OF CONFIDENCE” CLAUSE.
Since the so-called Spycatcher case in 1987, this is the first time the “breach of confidence” provision has been applied by British government attorneys general since the publication of Peter Wright’s “Spy catcher,” a memoir book about his time as a senior intelligence officer for the Security Service (MI5), which Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sought to prevent, and it was banned as a “Breach of confidence”.
The British attorney general was pursuing an injunction against the British Broadcasting Corporation, according to the British daily The Telegraph, as intelNews reported on January 24. (BBC). The injunction was issued to put a halt to the illegal activity.
There has been no information released concerning the case’s specifics. However, on Wednesday, a judge at London’s High Court of Justice heard from attorneys representing both parties in the case. According to The Telegraph, a government lawyer claimed before Justice (Martin) Chamberlain that the BBC’s effort to carry the news article had “national security and confidence issues.”
Lawyers for the BBC, on the other hand, requested the judge to reject the attorney general’s injunction and to have future hearings on the matter in public rather than behind closed doors. They also chastised the government’s legal attempts, calling them “a deviation from the open justice ideal.”
After the hearing, Justice Chamberlain stated that he was personally dedicated to the case being heard in public to the greatest degree allowed. He also told the government’s attorneys that unless “secrecy is compellingly justified” by national security considerations, he would not order the matter to be moved behind closed doors. In London, an interim hearing has been set on March 1 and 2.