Shayler is given bail - and permission for a football away-day

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The Independent Online

Renegade spy David Shayler, who appeared in court for the first time today charged with breaking the Official Secrets Act, was given special permission to spend a weekend away to watch Middlesbrough play Leeds.

Renegade spy David Shayler, who appeared in court for the first time today charged with breaking the Official Secrets Act, was given special permission to spend a weekend away to watch Middlesbrough play Leeds.

The ex-MI5 intelligence officer was granted bail on the condition that he lived with his brother Philip in Wimbledon.

But Chief Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate Graham Parkinson gave him permission to stay with a friend on Teesside so he could watch Saturday's match at the Riverside Stadium.

Shayler faces two charges of breaking Section One of the 1989 Official Secrets Act over a newspape article which made allegations about his former employer, MI5.

It said security chiefs had kept files on prominent Labour politicians including Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson, Home Secretary Jack Straw - branded a "communist sympathiser" - and had also kept files on former Beatle John Lennon and punk band the Sex Pistols.

The formal charge read: "On or before the 24th day of August 1997 within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court being a person who has been a member of the security and intelligence services without lawful authority disclosed documents relating to security or intelligence which were in your possession by virtue of your position."

His solicitor, John Wadham of civil rights group Liberty, told the magistrate that the 34-year-old would be pleading not guilty at a later hearing.

Shayler, who has already surrendered his passport to police, was bailed on condition that he lives with his brother Philip at his home in North Road, Wimbledon.

He is due back in court on September 21.

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