08 May 2010

Gary Summers - my Defence barrister

Gary Summers

Gary Summers was my Junior Barrister and he was associated with my Official Secrets Act case over about a 14 year period between 1992 and 2006.

I was arrested in August 1992 and accused of trying to sell military information to "Russians". At the time I did not have the security clearance to have access to "secrets", and so the Prosecution had to present a case that was deliberately designed to exaggerate the value of the stuff I worked with. I still do not know everything that happened behind the scenes, but I was "set up" in a sting operation in which it was claimed I had known a man named Viktor. No surname was given - this name Viktor was mentioned in a phone call made to my home on the morning of my arrest - and it was later stated in Court that this "Viktor" was actually a Russian named Viktor Oshchenko, who was a Russian intelligence officer in London in the 1970s. I did know a Spaniard named Viktor at the time of my arrest, but that was pushed out of the case as irrelevant. Even Stella Rimington admitted in Court that MI5 had no evidence that I had ever met Oshchenko, but the Prosecution case was that I had known him and been recruited to the KGB by him.

This is where the role of Gary Summers becomes important, because two of the key aspects in my case could have been proven and helped me, but Gary Summers did not give these points the attention they deserved. Firstly, it was stated that I had gone to Oporto on a KGB training mission, and the evidence was that I had at my home a tourist map I had kept from a holiday in 1977 - the map was given to me by a camp site attendant, and it was marked to show bus stops and a restaurant used by me and the friend I was travelling with. Later, in 1999, Christopher Andrew mentioned in the book The Mitrokhin Archive that I had gone to Lisbon on a KGB training mission, not Oporto. Then, when the official MI5 history was published by Christopher Andrew in 2009, he left all mention of my visit to Portugal out of his book, because the real fact was that this evidence had been misrepresented in Court simply to gain my conviction.

Because of this claim about Oporto the Prosecution was allowed to call an anonymous witness - not connected in any way with me - he said he was sent on a KGB training mission to Lisbon in 1979 by a man named Viktor, and the suggestion was made to the jury that I must have been doing something similar.

You would have thought that Stella Rimington - a key witness at my trial - would have been keen to boast about her role in gaining my conviction. It is likely that she was promoted to Director of MI5 on the basis that she had been successful in prosecuting a major espionage case - the biggest in her time running the counter-espionage section of MI5. Well, I guess that Rimington must be ashamed of the false evidence she was responsible for introducing into my trial, because there is not one reference to me or my case in her autobiography Open Secret.

The second main issue raised at my trial was a document dated January 1982, which Professor Meirion Francis Lewis (an MoD scientist) then claimed was linked with ALARM missiles used in the 1991 Gulf War. I later learned, in 2007, that this document was in fact made obsolete in 1984 (8 years before my arrest) and there was no chance it could have been used on any ALARM missiles, but this matter was never resolved because nobody was willing to admit the truth.

After my conviction in 1993, largely because I had no access to experts who knew the truth, I was sentenced to 25 years in prison. At my appeal in 1995 I wanted Gary Summers to make a main ground of appeal on the point that the document had not been used on ALARM missiles (although at that time it was only a gut-feeling I had), but he told me that there was no expert who could help us. The issue about Portugal was likewise brushed aside as a fair matter to have been raised by the Prosecution at my trial. The only gain I won at my appeal was a reduction in sentence from 25 to 20 years.

Later, in 1998, I made an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, and in 2003 I asked Gary Summers to help me make a further submission with the evidence I had discovered myself (which should have been used at my appeal in 1995). Gary made a few suggestions, but did very little himself to improve my submission. It wasn't until 2008, after a period of 10 years, that the CCRC finally rejected my application that my trial had been unfair.

It was only after a lot of thinking through what has happened to me, and the advice given to me by an ex-policeman, John Alexander Symonds, that I have come to realise that my Defence lawyers did far less than they should have done to challenge all the false evidence presented by the CPS, which was responsible for my conviction. Mr Symonds has told me how it was common practice during his time in the Police that the lawyers would work with the Police to make sure they got their convictions.

Towards the end of my relationship with Gary Summers I was pushing harder to get to the truth, and it was at this point that he suddenly dropped me and told me that he didn't want to be involved any more in my case. Perhaps he realised that I was getting too close to the truth and might uncover evidence that was undeniable, which I have in effect done. But this experience has taught me not to trust the majority of lawyers in the UK.

As far as Gary Summers is concerned, he appears to have moved around quite a lot in the time I have known him. In 1992, when I first came into contact with him, he was working in the Chambers of Rock Tansey QC (then at 3 Grays Inn Square). He continued in Rock Tansey's Chambers when he handled my appeal in 1995

When I later tried to contact Summers in 1997, I discovered that he had left the Bar and become a solicitor, and was working at Magrath & Co. In 2003, when I next contacted Summers to help me with my CCRC submission, I found he had gone back to being a barrister and was working in the Andrew Trollope QC Chambers at 187 Fleet Street.

I later tried to contact Summers and found he had moved to 7 Bedford Row, now the Simeon Maskrey QC Chambers. A little while later I discovered that Gary Summers was working at No. 5 Chambers, run by Ralph Lewis QC. In about the past year Summers seems to have moved on yet again, and is now listed in the Simon Russell Flint QC Chambers at 23 Essex Street.

It wasn’t until 2007 that I discovered (from my trial solicitor Richard Jefferies) that Gary Summers was the one responsible for giving the advice that the final payment should not be made to purchase shares in the electricity companies, which I was in the process of buying at the time of my arrest. As a result of that advice I lost thousands of pounds of my assets.