MI5 - Security Service

Submariner sentenced for breaching Official Secrets Act

Royal Navy Petty Officer Edward Devenney has been sentenced to eight years' imprisonment for breaches of the Official Secrets Act. He was arrested by Metropolitan Police officers in March 2012 after attempting to pass classified information about nuclear submarines to individuals whom he thought were members of the Russian intelligence services but were actually officers of the British Security Service. He was charged under the Official Secrets Act with collecting information for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state between 18 November 2011 and 7 March 2012. In November 2012 he pleaded guilty to the charge and to a further charge of misconduct in public office.

In sentencing Devenney on 12 December 2012, Mr. Justice Saunders stated:

"While it can properly be said that the defendant achieved nothing and is unlikely to be in a position, even if he had the inclination, to pass on secret information in the future, others must be discouraged from behaving in a similar way.

"It needs to be understood by those who may be tempted to pass on secrets that long prison sentences must follow even unsuccessful attempts."

For more information on this case, see the Metropolitan Police press release "Petty Officer jailed for selling secrets". The Security Service's work to combat the threat of espionage is described in more detail in our Espionage pages.

13 December 2012

Share this information? (all open in new windows)