Defence analyst ‘leaked top secret weapons intelligence’ because police didn’t take homophobic assault claims seriously
A former defence analyst allegedly took revenge on the state by leaking classified information because police refused to take his homophobic assault claims seriously.
Simon Finch, 50, is accused of breaching the Official Secrets Act by leaking operational information about a UK missile system “upon which the security of the realm partly depends”.
Finch, a software engineer from Swansea, allegedly wrote down the confidential information from memory and emailed it to nine addresses on 28 October 2018, saying he had been mistreated by the state.
His complaints stemmed from two serious homophobic assaults he suffered in 2013 which he felt were handled inappropriately by police, the NHS and his employers.
“Since the UK has refused me any justice, compensation, or even treatment for these appalling crimes then it has no right to expect my loyalty,” his email reportedly said.
Finch stated that his employer was aware of the assaults but “totally ignored” his concerns. They passed his address to Merseyside Police, who reportedly refused to attend, investigate or classify the attacks as hate crimes.
Rather than take him seriously, the police instead detained him for psychiatric treatment. He claimed he had been subject to “gross indignities” during and after his detention, and that his mistreatment “amounted to torture” at the hands of the police.
As he failed to get redress from Merseyside Police or Merseyside NHS Trust, Finch began a “downward spiral” and his mental health deteriorated to the point that he lost the ability to leave home or socialise.
‘If the nation does not care for my security then why should I care for national security?’
This culminated in 2018 when he lost his job with government contractors BAE Systems and QinetiQ, where he had worked for nearly two decades.
It was then that he opted to email the classified details to multiple contacts, including law firms, charities, trade unions, an MP and a US citizen. In the email Finch said it gave him “great pleasure” to reveal he had been documenting “secret, top secret and codeword” information on the missile systems.
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“This information has been sent (freely) to a number of hostile foreign governments,” he wrote. “If the nation does not care for my security then why should I care for national security?”
Finch denies recording and disclosing secret Ministry of Defence information and refusing to give authorities access codes to three electronic devices.
Defending Finch, Stuart Trimmer QC called the case “a very strange tale”. The homophobic assault occurred at a “deeply troubled phase of his life”, he said, and it had “quite literally ruined his life”.
He wasn’t motivated by money or political affiliation, Trimmer continued, but was an “intelligent man whose sexuality was unclear to others and in doubt to himself”.
“In the result he was abused and insulted. When he sought protection he got none,” he added.
The trial continues at the Old Bailey.