The Daily Telegraph

Briton accused of spying has plea hearing postponed

- By Daily Telegraph Reporter

THE plea hearing for a British man accused of spying for Russia from the British embassy in Berlin has been put off due to the defence barristers’ strike.

David Smith, 58, who worked as a security guard at the embassy, was due to enter pleas to nine charges under the Official Secrets Act dating back to May 2020. Smith yesterday appeared at the Old Bailey before Mr Justice Wall by videolink from Belmarsh high security jail. He spoke only to confirm his name.

Alistair Richardson attended for the prosecutio­n but Smith’s barrister was absent, with the defendant’s interests represente­d by solicitor Russell Nicholson. The senior judge set a new plea hearing for Oct 4 when he will deal with any other directions in the case. He added: “At the moment I understand why defence counsel are not in attendance – there is no guarantee that situation will have changed by that date.”

If there is no change, the senior judge asked that the defence counsel communicat­e with the court and indicate the likely pleas.

Following the brief court hearing, Smith, now of no fixed address, was remanded into custody. He is due to go on trial at the Old Bailey on Feb 13 next year.

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