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Royal Navy submariner admits breaching Official Secrets Act

By NeilShaw  |  Posted: November 14, 2012

  • Edward Devenney

  • The Old Bailey

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A Plymouth Royal Navy submariner has admitted gathering information which could be useful to an enemy state and meeting with two people he though were Russian spies.

Edward Devenney, 30, originally from Northern Ireland today admitted misconduct in relation to the meeting, which was in fact a sting set up by MI5, and breaching the Official Secrets Act.

Devenney was arrested at his home at HMS Drake, Devonport Naval Base in Plymouth in March.

Among the information he had were details of a top secret operation undertaken by HMS Trafalgar and sailing dates for other nuclear submarines.

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But the meeting he arrived at on January 28 was covertly recorded by the British security service and Devenney was arrested and charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.

He was due to stand trial at the Old Bailey today, but pleaded guilty to two of the charges he faced.

During a brief hearing he admitted collecting information about cryptography technology between November 18 last year and March 7 this year.

He also pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct in a public office relating to the attempted disclosure of the information about sailing dates.

The charge states he committed misconduct by 'attempting to set up and continue a covert relationship with a foreign power with the intention to harm the Royal Navy'.

Devenney pleaded not guilty to a third charge of communicating information contrary to the Official Secrets Act, which prosecutor Mark Dennis QC said was now reflected in the misconduct charge.

'The subject matter of count two [the communicating information charge] is information which he gave during a conversation with two men he believed were Russian Secret Service agents,' he added.

'Firstly, it relates to an operation that was undertaken by a submarine, HMS Trafalgar, and secondly it relates to the dates for the coming and going of two nuclear submarines during the course of this year.

'It is accepted in the plea to count three [the misconduct charge[ that the subject matter can be reflected in that count as part of the misconduct.'

Dressed in a smart suit and purple tie, the naval officer spoke only to confirm his name and to enter his pleas.

The judge, Mr Justice Saunders, adjourned sentencing until December 12.

Mr Dennis said: 'One of the issues that is pertinent to the sentence is damage or potential damage.

'Realistically here it is potential damage.'

Parts of the sentencing hearing, including those relating to cryptographic equipment, are likely to be heard in secret.

'The details of that device, the details of the Trafalgar operation and the details of now just one of the sailing dates is still top secret,' said Mr Dennis.

'Therefore they should not be mentioned in open court.'

Devenney, of Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, who served at HMS Drake in Plymouth, was remanded in custody ahead of his next court appearance.

He previously served aboard HMS Trafalgar and was to deploy with HMS Vigilant.

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  • CharlieDodd  |  November 16 2012, 12:13AM

    ..Dollie said- 'I cant think of a worse crime than betraying your own country'.. Lab/Lib/Tories do it all the time..;)

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  • jabbathebutt  |  November 15 2012, 10:50PM

    Its a sad world where traitors are not hung drawn and quartered for the damage they do their own country and its folk . Tony Blair was the one responsible for taking away the hanging for traitors. Hindsight is truly a wonderfull thing .

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  • firkinjeffery  |  November 15 2012, 10:20PM

    so wat we got worf nikkin??? its passed me by if we av f ps how notable he isnt an orficer fancy that!!!

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  • Felchus  |  November 15 2012, 6:23PM

    Would be interested to know of his motivations for these crimes...financial or ideological? Slightly dull reporting, but will be generous and presume that is because it is sub judice. Hope herald does a more in depth story at sentencing. Really does need to be getting a heavy sentence.

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  • dollie  |  November 15 2012, 6:21PM

    I cant think of a worse crime than betraying your own country.

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  • CharlieDodd  |  November 15 2012, 5:01PM

    Wonder if the Navy ran any checks on him to find out if he was a commie when he applied to join?

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  • Hearald  |  November 15 2012, 12:58AM

    information which could be useful to an enemy state? who would that be then?

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  • jabbathebutt  |  November 14 2012, 8:57PM

    What was you in the navy dad ? I was a traitor son.

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  • Vinnie_Gar  |  November 14 2012, 7:43PM

    Death penalty is gone completely now since we became a signatory of the European Convention of Human Rights. And, in my opinion, rightly so. I now invite all the Alf Garnett wannabees to vent their anger.

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  • Watcher11269  |  November 14 2012, 7:42PM

    Blimey- Ok for all you mother hens out there, I can confirm that there are NO LONGER any offences (either civil or military) on the statute books that carry the death sentence-no matter whether you agree with this or not....... Also, the chap concerned is a Petty Officer (non-commissioned) and not an officer as the Herald has reported (well done.....)

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