25 January 2006

Marconi Space & Defence Systems

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I wrote to Marconi to try to get to the bottom of the issue about what communication had occurred between Marconi’s Technical Director and Dr Lewis on 10/11 October 1993:

From: Michael John Smith
H.M.P. Full Sutton, York

21st November, 1995

To: The Technical Director
Marconi Space and Defence Systems
The Grove
Warren Lane

Dear Sir,

Re: Alleged Contravention of the Official Secrets Act

You may recall that I was convicted on 18th November 1993 for offences under the OSA. However, you may not know that only one classified document was involved in my case. This document originated at Marconi (MSDS Stanmore) and was marked RESTRICTED. The details of this document are:

Reference number: 79481/PBH/BB/S08
Issue 2
Date: 8 January 1982
Title: Demonstrator Programme Requirement Specification Bandpass Filter Assembly
Prepared by: P. B. Hutchinson
Approved by: M. R. Winstone

(1) Dr Meirion Lewis (an expert in design and manufacture of SAW devices at DRA) stated in court that he had hand delivered some written questions concerning the aforesaid RESTRICTED document to the Technical Director of Marconi (Stanmore), on the evening of Sunday 10th October 1993. Dr Lewis said that he telephoned and spoke personally to the Technical Director on the morning of the 11th October 1993, who gave him all the information he was giving in evidence, including the fact that the RESTRICTED document was related to the ALARM project.

(2) The Crown presented the view that Dr Lewis's statement on 11th October 1993 was the first time in my case that a link with ALARM had been established. ALARM had not been mentioned at all in the previous 14 months since my arrest on 8th August 1992.

(3) From the witness box, Dr Lewis made an impromptu technical argument to explain how the RESTRICTED document, on its own, would enable ALARM to be jammed. However, Dr Lewis admitted, while giving evidence on trial, that he was not an expert on ALARM, on missile technology, or on jamming techniques.

These three facts raise very important queries, the most important of them being: could a person who had admitted not to be an expert in the relevant fields, and who has been additionally informed only on the morning of the very day that he gave evidence on the issue on which he was not an expert, explain in scientific terms how a secret project (to which he, therefore, had no access as he was not part of it) could be affected by the information contained in a classified document?

Whatever the reply to that question, in spite of the relevance of its serious legal implications (on the issue of national security), the facts show - and so I am led to think by information I have been unofficially provided with - that the police had connected the RESTRICTED document with ALARM at an early stage in the investigation.

Moreover, the very facts point to the MoD having prevented information coming out that could have led to different conclusions to those on which the prosecution relied in their case. Nevertheless, I have no reasons to believe that GEC Marconi were deliberately involved in such a way of preventing the course of justice.

You should be aware that I am serving a 20 year sentence for having the RESTRICTED document in my possession, a document to which Dr Meirion Lewis gained an easy access, notwithstanding being a classified document used in a secret project which involved an issue of national security.

Therefore, before concluding, I ask you very respectfully to let me know whether you have the records of Dr Lewis's requests to the Technical Director of your company on the 10th and 11th October 1993, or any information concerning a link between the RESTRICTED document 79481/PBH/BB/SO8 Issue 2 and the ALARM project in connection with my case. If so, and possible, I will appreciate it if you could let me know whether I can be furnished with that information.

I thank you in anticipation for your kind and prompt reply to this letter.

Yours faithfully,
Michael John Smith

I should have realised that asking straightforward questions would not lead to answers. Instead of giving me the most basic answer - to confirm there had indeed been some contact between Dr Lewis and Marconi’s Technical Director - the next correspondence I received came from Marconi’s lawyers:

From: Allen & Overy
One New Change
London, EC4M 9QQ

10th January 1996
Our Ref: DLM/TM/LT:164244.1

To: Michael John Smith
H.M.P. Full Sutton, York

Dear Sir,

Alleged Contravention of the Official Secrets Act

We act for GEC-Marconi Limited who have passed to us your letter of 21st November received on 5th December.

Your will appreciate that concerns about your conviction are matters for the Prosecution and for your lawyers, not for our clients. Your most immediate concern appears to relate to aspects of the evidence of Dr Lewis but it seems from your letter that he was cross examined about this at the time.

Our clients are not able to consider a request for information relating to your case except as part of the legal process or following an approach to which the Prosecution is a party.

Yours faithfully,
(Signature illegible)

Allen & Overy Letter

It is interesting that Allen & Overy have mentioned the cross-examination of Dr Lewis, because I did not refer to it directly in my letter. It is true that a small part of my letter refers to information that came out of the cross-examination - but how would Allen & Overy or Marconi have known that? This is a curious point, which implies there was something going on behind the scenes that the defence was not told about.

It was the defence’s difficulty during the cross-examination that resulted in the matter not being properly dealt with at trial. Neither Dr Lewis nor any other witness was available to resolve the problems that arose from Dr Lewis’s testimony. If Marconi’s Technical Director had appeared at the trial, maybe I would not be still trying to resolve the anomalies now?

There is also the other strange point in Allen & Overy’s letter, that they can only become involved in my research of the evidence if the Prosecution is a party to it. Why would I wish to involve the Prosecution, when I believe they are the party who created this mess! However, this is yet another indication that Marconi had some involvement with the Prosecution that was not revealed to my defence team.

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