Shayler given leave to go to the football

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Indy Politics

The former MI5 officer David Shayler appeared in court yesterday charged with two offences under the Official Secrets Act.

The former MI5 officer David Shayler appeared in court yesterday charged with two offences under the Official Secrets Act.

Mr Shayler, represented by lawyer John Wadham, the director of the civil rights group Liberty and Gareth Peirce, the solicitor famous for her part in freeing the Guildford Four in 1990, is charged with handing over secret documents and information relating to the security services to the Mail on Sunday newspaper in 1997.

The hearing at Bow St magistrates' court in London, three years to the day the criticisms were first published, was told Mr Shayler would plead not guilty.

Mr Shayler was granted bail on the condition he lives with his brother Philip in Wimbledon, south-west London. A Middlesbrough fan, he was granted a weekend away to watch the football club in Teesside.

An MI5 officer from 1991 to 1996, Mr Shayler, 34, has made a number of allegations against the secret services including involvement in a plot to overthrow Libya's President, Muammar Gaddafi. Mr Shayler was arrested in Dover on Monday after his return from self-imposed exile in France.

Outside court, Mr Shayler,said: "I'm glad the legal process has begun. It gives us all the chance to examine the Official Secrets Act in the light of the human rights legislation." He is due in court on 21 September.

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