back to article I'll give you my passwords if you investigate police corruption, accused missile systems leaker told cops

A former BAE Systems engineer accused of failing to hand over his device passwords to Merseyside Police vowed not to give them up until a watchdog investigated his allegations that police workers had perverted the course of justice, the Old Bailey heard. In a letter read to the court, Simon Finch is said to have told Detective …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So if the accused is now loopy are they still going to punish him for refusing to obey?

    Was the accused mental health assessed before and during employment so as to be deemed fit to understand the implications of signing the the offical secrets act?

    As to his issue with the police, one would think it reasonable that criminal investigations are processed in the order they are received, if this whole issue is down to desperation brought about because of claimed criminal behaviour of the police then surely that should have investigated first?

    If the police involvement indeed preceded any breaking of the offical secrets act was the accused mental health assessed before the police decided to put the pressure on?

    1. msknight Silver badge

      At the very least, the prior issue with the police needs to be bottomed out, as it will play a part in sentencing him for his actions. He likely will be locked up and the key thrown away, but it will likely play a part in how far they throw it. And if the police are at fault, then they need to be taken to task for that, and held to account for pulling the trigger... and I've read enough issues with the police to not take them at their word any more. That video of the policeman telling that bloke that he would make something up, still sticks in my mind https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-52338058

    2. macjules Silver badge

      If he even got as far as being considered for a position that involved signing the Official Secrets Act then he should have undergone either an enhanced security check or enhanced developed vetting. This is not a simple background check on PNC plus recent employment but covers:

      successful completion of the Baseline Personnel Security Standard

      completion, by the individual, of a DV security questionnaire

      a check of both spent and unspent criminal records

      a check of credit and financial history with a credit reference agency

      a check of Security Service (MI5) records

      a full review of personal finances

      a detailed interview conducted by a trained Investigating Officer

      the full review of personal finances will include an assessment of an individual’s assets, liabilities, income and expenditure both on an individual basis and taking into account the joint position with a spouse or partner.

      further enquiries, including interviews with referees conducted by a trained Investigating Officer

      checks may extend to third parties included on the security questionnaire - parents, friends and so on.

      Unfortunately it takes a really long time to complete both ESC and EDV and for the report to be sent to the relevant parties (MI5, Police, BAe etc) so it is likely that he started employment with only partial clearance (clean bill by MI5 and no PNC history) and they would still be awaiting the third party interviews, which might have shown that he was not fit for employment in that role.

      1. Mr Dogshit
        Headmaster

        " involved signing the Official Secrets Act"

        No one has to sign the Official Secrets Act. It applies to everyone, whether you like it or not. That's the point.

        P.S. The bloke's a twerp

      2. johnfbw

        I was asked to sign the Official Secrets Act at the age of 14 for my work experience at National Savings. I don't remember having a MI5 check!!!

      3. the spectacularly refined chap

        I've had to sign the OSA more times than I recall, never had to go through that rigamarole. You'll be asked to sign it starting work handling stuff even at the Protect (or formally Restricted) levels. Developed vetting is only applied to a subset of jobs at Top Secret clearance level.

      4. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

        OSA != DV

        As another poster has said, everyone is covered by the Official Secrets Act [1]. "Signing" is just acknowledging that you have had the provisions of the Act drawn to your attention. Almost all jobs involving contact with protectively marked official information will also involve "signing" during induction. What macjules describes is Developed Vetting (that's what the DV stands for) which is appropriate for jobs where much more highly classified material (military intelligence, for example) is involved.

        [1] Everyone in the UK jurisdiction, obvs.

  2. Danny 2 Silver badge

    failing to hand over his passwords to police on demand – a crime in the UK

    I have had tens of thousands of passwords for hundreds of accounts on various services almost all of which I am locked out of because I can't remember them.

    Ignorance of the law is no legal defence, but knowing the law and forgetting a password should be.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: failing to hand over his passwords to police on demand – a crime in the UK

      RIPA is IMHO too powerful a tool to allow the police alone to decide to use.

      This given that it could be said that this tool was put in place so police do not have to actually do the work of finding evidence.

      Previously when evidence was in written format the police would still have to find the documents and extract evidence to obtain proof of criminal acts, RIPA IMHO promotes the idea that the police do not need any evidence or even to get are their behinds to obtain a conviction. Which I think acts to remove justice given that the police rather than courts are determing guilt.

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: failing to hand over his passwords to police on demand – a crime in the UK

        Evidence is overrated. It's much easier to enact overly broad draconian laws and try the suspects in secret. The First World has adopted the tactics of the Third World.

    2. wyatt

      Re: failing to hand over his passwords to police on demand – a crime in the UK

      Delete my password safe (and the backups) and I'd be screwed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: failing to hand over his passwords to police on demand – a crime in the UK

        Indeed, because they dont differentiate between "unwilling" and "unable", assuming you didnt delete it just before you were about to be arrested, or even after with a kill switch.

      2. druck Silver badge

        Re: failing to hand over his passwords to police on demand – a crime in the UK

        Then you better also destroy the data secured by those passwords - if you truly could no longer access it, what would be the point in keeping it?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Mr Sceptical
      Paris Hilton

      Re: failing to hand over his passwords to police on demand – a crime in the UK

      That's exactly why we need to replace passwords with something else, but not an obvious biometric either - it's far too easy to grab a corpse's finger to unlock their phone on TV.

      How about an erect todger? It would imply you are at least relaxed enough with your surroundings that you're unlikely to be in a police cell - unless you're a shameless exhibitionist, in which case you need the opposite.

      "Honestly officer, I swear this doesn't happen often - oh well, I can't unlock the phone now..."

      Paris, as that might be their secret weapon ->

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: failing to hand over his passwords to police on demand – a crime in the UK

          There's an obvious reply to that but JK Rowling would take offense.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aside from the whole leaking state secrets thing, I have absolutely no sympathy for mentally deranged people who carry dangerous weapons in public places. Best thing they could do with this guy is lock him up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      mental deranger people carrying weapons?

      Like pepper spray, batons and fire arms?

      I too would like to be able to walk the streets without having to be armed but it could be said that since the police are no longer visibly present and the many reports of the public carrying weapons then it is becoming increasingly prudent.

      As to the number of deranged on the streets, this has increased in my opinion due to "care in the community", where they emptied and shut down the asylums to save the cost of keeping dangerous nutters off the streets.

      The whole idea of not carrying weapons in public was IMHO based upon the premise that the pollice would prevent said waepons being use against the defenseless.

      It cannot be said that the police are winning the war on weapons in public even after their own arming and wearing body armor. Perhaps a rethink of policy in light to the goverment changes that have resulted in the environment being altered from one where the majority were safe to where only the minority are, is required.

      1. Rob Gr

        Re: mental deranger people carrying weapons?

        Care in the Community could have worked out entirely differently if they hadn't cut all the budget for carers in the community at the same time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is it just the "mentally deranged people" carrying dangerous weapons that you have no sympathy for? What about those who carry dangerous weapons in public while mentally healthy? Is that any better?

      If anything I would have more sympathy for those struggling with mental health, however I would also point out that mental health difficulties do not automatically signal a propensity for violence.

      His excuse for carrying weapons was due to his perceived failure of the police to take his reports of homophobic assaults seriously. So this is a man who has been caught carrying weapons while in fear of his safety.

      While the complexities of mental health and safety on our streets are legion, this case certainly warrants a lot of thought and consideration for the various aspects.

      It most certainly shouldn't elicit a blanket statement about people with mental health difficulties, past or present, and a call for them to be locked up with the presence of past or present mental health difficulties as the determining factor, which you have suggested.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Victim of homophobic assaults

        Previous coverage of this trial on the Register noted that the accused reported to the police that he is not gay. Under UK law, can a straight man (referring to this case) be treated as a victim of a homophobic assault? Is this the basis for his feeling that his reports were not treated seriously?

        (I believe that a homophobic assault would be treated as a hate crime, which attracts more severe sentencing. Should I be corrected on this?)

        As noted elsewhere in the comments, being in fear of one's safety is not considered a defence in the UK for carrying an offensive weapon.

        The accused clearly has mental health issues. Whatever the outcome of the trial, I hope that as a result of it he is able to receive appropriate treatment for them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Victim of homophobic assaults

          > Under UK law, can a straight man (referring to this case) be treated as a victim of a homophobic assault?

          Yes. It is the perpetrator's motivations that determine that.

        2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: can a straight man be treated as a victim of a homophobic assault?

          Intention of the attacker is what's important here.

          If he was attacked on the presumption that he's gay, that's a homophobic assault. Whether or not he's actually gay is irrelevant.

          1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

            Re: can a straight man be treated as a victim of a homophobic assault?

            It is the perpetrator's motivations that determine that

            Intention of the attacker is what's important here

            Worryingly, something qualifies as a "hate crime" if the victim perceives it as such. But I suppose we can take it that they have to be a member of a victimized group.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: can a straight man be treated as a victim of a homophobic assault?

              Do you have any specific references?

  4. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Dodged a bullet there, guv.

    Whew! For a minute there I thought he wanted world peace.

  5. Flywheel Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Oops!

    So with that statement he can't claim to have forgotten his passwords.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ... as long as this testimony isn't false. Which would be less likely if the Police are not corrupt. Except they now have the power to commit crime without being accountable, while joe public is now a criminal if they exercise their right to remain silent when asked for their password.

      Or so some in power want us to believe.

  6. sev.monster Bronze badge

    Let's just be honest, what kind of twat carries nunchaku?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @"Let's just be honest, what kind of twat carries nunchaku?" people who flay rice?

      The weapon derives from a period and country where swords were restricted to the gentry, the UK equivelent of say a scythe would also be a weapon if you said you were carrying it for the purposes of attack or defense.

      The current knife laws changed the system where intent was required for it to become a weapon, intentionally I believe as the police were unable to deal with the number of people carrying knives and valid excuses for do doing so.

      Again another attack on the law so the police can be judge jury and executioner and avoid having to actually prove anything before sending people to prision.

      1. iron Silver badge

        Where in Merseyside is this mythical rice field he was going to work in?

        1. Steve K Silver badge
          Coat

          All a misunderstanding, he was dressed as a nun, chuck.

          1. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

            Mr Norris in a habit?

            1. sev.monster Bronze badge

              "Tell me your sins, my child," he gravelly rumbles from the confession box.

        2. David 132 Silver badge
        3. macjules Silver badge

          Obviously in the Balti[c] Triangle

      2. Marcus Fil

        "The weapon derives from a period and country where swords were restricted to the gentry, the UK equivelent of say a scythe would also be a weapon if you said you were carrying it for the purposes of attack or defense."

        Modern equivalents might include tools of trade such as tap wrenches, blow torches or, my favourite, the chain saw - as proposed by one of my sensei.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Oh, well. Time to post this link (I didn't want to, honest):

          https://youtu.be/V8wxwqtRgSk

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Anyone who is going to a TaeKwonDo session?

      Let's just be honest, what kind of twat carries a knife in public?

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        @John Robson: "... what kind of twat carries a knife in public?"

        Are you being serious?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I've never taken nun-chucks to my TKD session. Those are held in the dojang .

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        what kind of twat carries a knife in public?

        Anyone with a reason for needing a knife about his person - such as a farmer. For a farmer, a pocket knife is an essential tool. Sizes vary (oohh arhh), but even an average sized one would be capable of inflicting serious injury if misused.

        So stop calling me a twat !

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > what kind of twat carries nunchaku?

      Oi don't be like that! They're great for entertainment value.

      They were all the rage in the 80s but I don't recall seeing a single demonstration where the nunchakista didn't end up hurting himself sooner rather than later.

      Conversely, in an actual fight they don't inflict any serious damage and are super easy to grab and dispose of in whichever orifice you find most convenient.

      1. Robert Sneddon

        Shredder

        > what kind of twat carries nunchaku?

        Oi don't be like that! They're great for entertainment value.

        They were all the rage in the 80s

        Not with the British Board of Film Censors (the BBFC). The head hocho of that august organisation was seriously down on nunchuks, and ninjas too -- we in the UK were presented with something called the Teenage HERO Mutant Turtles movie. The Turtle character that normally used nunchuks was mostly edited out of the action scenes and only appeared during a comedy skit where he wielded a string of sausages.

        Kung-fu movies with Bruce Lee and others where nunchuks were used were also cut to shreds for commercial release on DVD and the like.

        1. AIBailey

          Re: Shredder

          If I remember correctly, there was a general blanket ban on showing nunchuks in the British 80's, yet if the centre chain of said nunchucks was replaced by a solid bar, linked to the others by a ring, that was fine.

          Bonkers!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      what kind of twat carries nunchaku?

      his name was Bruce, and not of the Willis clan :D

    5. Ken 16

      The kind who smacks himself in the face with it.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    crazy all around

    What I read:

    So war company hires a guy that is gay, no problem.

    Guy gets attacked multiple times, reports it to police, but they do the same, apparently.

    Guy goes crazy and sells data to bad people because the world is bad to him.

    Guy is willing to admit his crime, if the police will admit their crimes against him.

    Police say - he's crazy, lets just lock him up till it goes away.

    World continues as normal, brutality and bombs away...... :/

  8. bigtreeman

    homophobe bash

    A hammer and machete aren't discrete defence weapons,

    sounds like he was out for a homophobe bash.

    Then nunchuks and a knife, was that a 'Crocodile Dundee' type knife ?

    Lock him up and forget the password, sounds like he's not safe out in public.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: homophobe bash

      Or, you know, give him some treatment. Radical idea I know.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I believe this thread should be deleted

    Contempt of court

    publicly commenting on a court case, for example on social media or online news articles

    https://www.gov.uk/contempt-of-court

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: I believe this thread should be deleted

      Oh dear...

    2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: I believe this thread should be deleted

      Surely you should immediately contact the Attorney General about this egregious violation, lest you become complicit yourself by failing to report the crime. I'll help you get started:

      Contempt.SharedMailbox@attorneygeneral.gov.uk

  10. TonyR
    WTF?

    Delusional Disorder

    "A mental health nurse ...." is also said to have told the court that she discovered he had previously been diagnosed with "delusional disorder",

    Shirley that is just a natural consequence of working in the IT sector....

  11. CAPS LOCK

    The Fifty[1]: This patch of randowm data is an encrypted file. Password please...

    Me: It's just random data, not an encrypted file.

    The Five Oh: I'll decide what's an encrypted file. Password or it's off to the cells with you.

    [1] One of James May's.

  12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  13. tiggity Silver badge

    Mental health nurse

    Personally I am concerned about the mental health nurse telling police he boasted about knowing the passwords.

    The accused party would expect a degree of patient confidentiality from a medical professional - nurse should only have been assessing for mental issues that were relevant, NOT passing on uncorroborated potentially incriminating "evidence" (assuming nurse is being truthful)

  14. First Light Silver badge

    What was his employer thinking?

    If this guy is nuts as people suspect, and was previously diagnosed with mental health issues, why was he still working on classified material? I'm sure if it's a national security issue, there's some way around having him work on that kind of material. Or maybe his employer wasn't paying attention. Which is more of a concern than him not giving his passwords.

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