Trials & Litigation

UK Spy Accused of Attacking Colleague to Be Tried Behind Screen, Under Pseudonym

A British spy is accused of sexually assaulting, beating and harassing a female colleague at various times last year will be tried for in a highly unusual manner next year.

Because the 28-year-old’s life could be in danger if his identity is revealed, he will be tried under a pseudonym, “Mark Barton,” the Telegraph reports.

And, although the judge and the jury will be able to see the defendant, members of the public will not; “Barton” will sit behind a screen during the trial in London’s Southwark Crown Court. The alleged victim’s identity also will not be publicly revealed.

Judge Alistair McCreath said a public trial with the defendant’s identity concealed is a better option than holding a trial in camera, because this will allow the public to hear the trial and permit the written record of the trial to be public, the Daily Mail reports.

“I recognize that before I can grant anonymity to this defendant and along with it the physical concealment of him in court while he sits in the dock and gives evidence, I must be satisfied that there is a real and immediate risk to his life if anonymity is not granted,” the judge said during a recent hearing, portions of which were not public.

“The material before me, which I cannot obviously specify, satisfies me that the risk is real, in the sense that it is objectively verified, and I’m satisfied that it is immediate, in the sense that it is present in the circumstances if anonymity is not granted.”

Hat tip: Times Colonist.

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