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Last Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007, 16:45 GMT
Bail denied in Secrets Act case
Daniel James behind Gen David Richards
Mr James (in background), was a translator for General Richards
A soldier accused of passing secret information to a foreign power was a "proud British patriot", the Old Bailey has heard.

Corporal Daniel James, 44, from Brighton, was refused bail after being charged under the Official Secrets Act.

But the Iranian-born interpreter's barrister, Paul Raudnitz, said: "He is a British patriot. There is not in any sense a conflict of interest.

"He does not owe anything to any other country or party."

Mr James, who worked as a translator for General David Richards, is accused of communicating information that may be "directly or indirectly useful to the enemy" - widely believed to be Iran.

Gen Richards was the British commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan.

Mr James, who came to Britain aged 14 and became a British citizen in 1986, is alleged to have committed the offence on 2 November last year.

James was an interpreter
There is not in any sense a conflict of interest, There is no division of loyalties at all. He does not owe anything to any other country or party
Paul Raudnitz

Mr James, a Territorial Army soldier, appeared at the Old Bailey by video-link from Wandsworth prison for a preliminary hearing.

Mr Raudnitz said he had joined the TA in 1987 and added: "That was a deliberate act of patriotic duty towards the country that had taken him in. He is a British patriot.

"There is not in any sense a conflict of interest, There is no division of loyalties at all. He does not owe anything to any other country or party."

Mr Raudnitz said his client was a fluent Farsi speaker - the predominant language of Iran - and in 2005 the Army asked him if he would take a course to become fluent in Dari, a closely-related language which is widely spoken in Afghanistan.

Charges disputed

In March 2006 he was deployed to Afghanistan and he ended up working for Gen Richards. Mr Raudnitz said: "His role was to translate only for General Richards when he spoke openly to local people.

"What was discussed with local people was never of a sensitive nature. Primarily he translated speeches given publicly to local people.

"He was never party to any conversation that could be considered sensitive between General Richards and his colleagues. They were in English and he was not called upon."

Mr Raudnitz said he "vehemently disputed" the charges.

He also added that Mr James was not a fluent speaker of Pashtun, as had been widely reported.

The court was told the trial would take place in or before January next year.

The judge, Mr Justice Calvert-Smith, adjourned the case for a plea and case management hearing on 15 June.

Bail was refused and Mr James was remanded in custody.




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