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Thursday, 21 September, 2000, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Shayler faces third secrets charge
David Shayler
David Shayler, arrested on his return to Britain in August
The former MI5 officer, David Shayler, has been charged with a third count of breaching the Official Secrets Act.

The new charge relates to passing on material obtained through telephone-tapping - an offence against Section 4 of the Act.

He was charged on Thursday during his second appearance at Bow Street Magistrates' Court in London since his dramatic return from a self-imposed exile in France.

On 24 August, he pleaded not guilty to two offences related to information he allegedly passed to the Mail On Sunday newspaper, which then published an article criticising MI5.


I will tell Parliament the police aren't catching the real criminals

David Shayler
Solicitor John Wadham, of civil rights group Liberty, said his client would also plead not guilty to the third charge.

Mr Shayler criticised the police, saying: "There are a lot of criminals around, I am the only one charged with anything and I am only writing newspaper articles rather than killing people."

During the two months before his trial he said he would continue to write newspaper articles and would also lobby parliament.

"I will tell parliament the police aren't catching the real criminals."

Mr Wadham said they had not expected the third charge - but insisted that it would make it easier for Mr Shayler to fight his case.

Human rights law cited

Mr Shayler has said that when his case goes to trial he will claim protection under European human rights legislation, which becomes part of UK law on 2 October.

However, he is not facing charges over more serious allegations he made in the media, including claims that MI6 was behind a bungled plot to assassinate Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi which left several civilians dead.

Mr Shayler was bailed to appear at a plea and direction hearing at the Old Bailey on 2 November.

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See also:

21 Aug 00 | UK
Shayler on secrets charges
18 Aug 00 | UK
Timeline: Shayler's exile
20 Aug 00 | UK
Q&A: David Shayler's return
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