Armed forces member in court accused of sharing sensitive military information

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A serving member of the armed forces has appeared in court accused of sharing “highly sensitive” military information.

Thomas Newsome, 36, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday morning charged with two offences contrary to the Official Secrets Act 1989.

Newsome was deployed overseas until April 17, when he is alleged to have made “a damaging disclosure of information relating to defence and which was in his possession by virtue of his position”.

He is also charged with failing to take care of documents or “to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of those documents as a person in his position may reasonably be expected to take” on April 18.

Newsome confirmed his name and date of birth in court, but his address, which defendants normally state, was withheld on national security grounds, as were the names of his lawyers.

He is alleged to have shared a 10-page document with two senior officers who had clearance to view it and one civilian who did not, including by taking photographs of the document and sending them by social media.

Prosecutor Brigid Fitzpatrick said the document, which Newsome is alleged to have had digital and hard copies of, contained “highly sensitive military information”.

She said if it were leaked, it would pose a “real and immediate threat to the lives of British citizens outside the UK” and “facilitate the targeting of personnel”.

Newsome is also accused of possessing separate secret information on a USB stick.

The Metropolitan Police said he was detained on Tuesday before being charged on Friday.

A warrant of further detention was obtained in the interim, allowing police to detain him until Saturday.

District Judge Michael Snow rejected an application for bail and said Newsome would next appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on April 28.

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