A man charged with spying for Russia at the British Embassy in Berlin is set to go on trial in February.
David Smith, 58, was due to file a petition in the Old Bailey on Tuesday, but a judge postponed the hearing because of the barristers’ strike.
The former guard’s attorney did not attend the hearing due to ongoing action by the Criminal Lawyers Association.
A judge told Smith, who appeared in court via video link from prison, that he could not make a plea unless he had full representation.
He is indicted on nine counts of violating the Official Secrets Act dating back to May 2020.
Judge Wall extended the detention period for the defendant, which was due to expire Thursday, so he can be put in jail before trial.
A judge said the trial was scheduled for February 13 next year. This was because it was the first day that a free court was held at the Old Bailey and a High Court judge could hear.
The date was set before the criminal barrister went on strike and has not been moved for action.
Judge Wall told the court, “At the time the trial date was set, it was anticipated that he would apply for an extension of his detention.”
“The absence of the court and judges is certainly a valid reason for the extension. It would not be proper to be released by a judge. [less senior] circuit judge. ”
Mr. Smith has seven counts of collecting information for the purpose of transmitting information to Russian authorities, one of attempting to communicate, and one of providing information to a person he believed to be a member of the Russian authorities. I have not filed a petition.
The defendant, who lived in Potsdam, was arrested by German police last August and extradited to the UK in April.
The indictment states that he exchanged letters with “Major Sergei Chukhlov, military attaché of the Russian army based at the Russian Embassy in Berlin,” and that the materials “included details about his activities, identity, address and phone number.” It was alleged that Officials of Her Majesty the Queen.”
Smith was alleged to have “collected material relating to the operation and layout of the British Embassy in Berlin,” which information was believed or intended to “be useful to the enemy, namely the Russian state.” .
He is also accused of making unauthorized copies of documents, video recordings of the embassy’s CCTV system, and a “stored SIM card package” which he was asked to dispose of.
The indictment alleges that he provided information about building repairs at the embassy after being approached by someone who “believed to be a member of the Russian Military Intelligence Service (GRU).”
A new date has been set for next Wednesday’s judicial hearing, pending the results of the barrister’s vote.