Katharine Gun

House of Lords written question – answered on 10th March 2004.

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Photo of Lord Alexander of Weedon Lord Alexander of Weedon Conservative

asked Her Majesty's Government:

For what reasons they considered that the defence of "necessity" in the Katharine Gun case was sufficiently strong to lead them to abandon the prosecution.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith Lord Goldsmith Attorney General, Law Officers' Department, Attorney General (Law Officers)

The decision to offer no evidence against Katharine Gun was made by the Crown Prosecution Service as an independent prosecuting authority. It was a decision taken solely on legal grounds and in accordance with the code for Crown Prosecutors. There was, in this case, a clear prima facie breach of Section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1989. However, Senior Treasury Counsel prosecuting this case gave advice, with which the Director of Public Prosecutions fully concurred, that there was no longer a realistic prospect of convicting Katharine Gun. The evidential deficiency related to the prosecution's inability, within the current statutory framework, to disprove the defence of necessity to be raised on the particular facts of this case.

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