Thomas Newsome: trial date set for serving armed forces member accused of sharing 'sensitive' information

Thomas Newsome will face trial in April 2024

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A serving member of the armed forces accused of breaching the Official Secrets Act by sharing “highly sensitive” military information will stand trial next spring.

Thomas Newsome, 36, appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday (19 May) for a preliminary hearing before Mr Justice Baker. Wearing green and yellow prison garb, the bearded defendant spoke only to confirm his identity by video link from Wandsworth prison.

Mr Justice Baker said the case should be heard by a High Court judge and set a provisional trial date of 8 April 2024 at Kingston Crown Court. He also set a plea and case management hearing for 1 September.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Picture: CARLOS JASSO/AFP via Getty ImagesWestminster Magistrates’ Court. Picture: CARLOS JASSO/AFP via Getty Images
Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Picture: CARLOS JASSO/AFP via Getty Images

Newsome faces two charges under the Official Secrets Act. One of the charges alleges Newsome made a “damaging disclosure” on 17 April “relating to defence”.

Addressing the defendant, Mr Justice Baker said: “Your trial will take place – if there is to be a trial – 8 on Aprill at Kingston Crown Court. In the meantime, you will remain in custody.” The defendant replied: “Understood, Sir.”

Newsome, who returned to the UK from overseas deployment on that day, is alleged to have shared a 10-page document containing “highly sensitive military information”. The prosecution has alleged the release of such information would pose “a real and immediate threat to the lives of British citizens based outside the UK”.

The second charge alleges Newsome failed to take care of documents or “prevent the unauthorised disclosure of those documents as a person in his position may reasonably be expected to take” on April 18. The second count relates to a USB stick also said to have contained “highly sensitive material”.