Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Wednesday, 9 May 2007 16:52 UK

Pair are guilty of Bush memo leak

Civil servant David Keogh, 50, and MP's researcher Leo O'Connor, 44
David Keogh and Leo O'Connor denied the charges

A civil servant and an MP's researcher have been found guilty of leaking a secret memo about talks between George Bush and Tony Blair.

David Keogh, 50, from Northampton, has been found guilty of two offences under the Official Secrets Act.

MP's researcher Leo O'Connor was found guilty of one Official Secrets offence.

The memo recorded Oval Office talks between Mr Bush and Mr Blair about Iraq in 2004, the Old Bailey was told. Sentencing was adjourned for reports.

It was claimed in court that publication of the document could have cost British lives.

Few details of the "highly sensitive" memo, which is known to have included discussions about military tactics, have been made public.

Judge Mr Justice Aikens told the jury that what they had heard in camera must remain secret.

'Remains secret'

He said: "The information you heard in camera, including the contents of the letter and what was said by witnesses about the consequences of the disclosure of the letter, remain confidential - it remains secret."

The trial heard that Keogh, a communications officer at the Cabinet Office, gave the memo to political researcher O'Connor, also from Northampton, at a dining club in the town.

Tony Blair and George W Bush

It was passed to Northampton South MP Anthony Clarke, who called the police.

Keogh's barrister, Rex Tedd QC, said his client had wanted to seek to reveal the truth of what was happening in Iraq while others were trying to conceal that truth.

John Farmer, defending O'Connor, said the war in Iraq was "the most controversial foreign affairs involvement of this country since Suez 50 years ago".

Earlier, O'Connor told the court he had never been "so worried and so fearful" as when he was passed the document.

O'Connor, who worked for anti-war Labour MP Mr Clarke, said he had been approached by Keogh and told about "some quite embarrassing, outlandish statements" in the four-page document.

But he told the jury that he took the claims with a "pinch of salt" and never intended to send copies of the document to newspapers or MPs.

'Misguided act'

When the court reconvened, the judge told Rex Tedd QC, for Keogh, that he was considering sentencing on Thursday.

Mr Tedd told the judge that Keogh had not acted for a political motive but had been following his conscience.

He said: "He acted out of conscience. No doubt, he did so misguidedly and he did so in a way which was likely to cause damage."

Keogh had been suspended on full pay but would now lose his job and good character, Mr Tedd said.

And he asked the judge for mercy, suggesting he imposed a community service order or a financial sentence.

Mr Farmer told the judge that the researcher has simply been unlucky to be in the position of working for anti-war MP Mr Clarke.

"Neither this document nor anything of its nature was actively sought by him," he said.

video and audio news
Arguments over the impact on security

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific