Parliamentary aide among two men charged with passing secrets to China

22 April 2024, 12:50 | Updated: 22 April 2024, 13:12

Westminster aide one of two men charged with spying for China
Westminster aide one of two men charged with spying for China. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

A parliamentary researcher has been charged with carrying out espionage work on behalf of China.

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The Metropolitan Police announced Christopher Cash had been charged alongside another man, Christopher Berry.

Nick Price, head of the Crown Prosecution Service Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said in a statement: "The Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism Division has today authorised the Metropolitan Police to charge two men with espionage offences.

"Christopher Berry, 32, and Christopher Cash, 29, will be charged with providing prejudicial information to a foreign state, China, and will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday, 26 April.

"Criminal proceedings against the defendants are active. No-one should report, comment or share information online which could in any way prejudice their right to a fair trial."

Chinese leader Xi Jinping
Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Picture: Alamy

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Scotland Yard said the charge against Berry, of Witney in Oxfordshire, was that: "On dates between 28 December 2021 and 3 February 2023, for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the State, obtained, collected, recorded, published, or communicated to any other person articles, notes, documents or information, which were calculated to be, might be, or were intended to be, directly or indirectly, useful to an enemy. Contrary to section 1(1)(c) of the Official Secrets Act 1911."

And the charge against Cash, of Whitechapel, London, was that: "On dates between 20 January 2022 and 3 February 2023, for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the State, obtained, collected, recorded, published, or communicated to any other person articles, notes, documents or information, which were calculated to be, might be, or were intended to be, directly or indirectly, useful to an enemy. Contrary to section 1(1)(c) of the Official Secrets Act 1911."

The force added: "The foreign state to which the above charges relate is China."

Commander Dominic Murphy, head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said: "This has been an extremely complex investigation into what are very serious allegations. We've worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service as our investigation has progressed and this has led to the two men being charged today.

"We're aware there has been a degree of public and media interest in this case, but we would ask others to refrain from any further comment or speculation, so that the criminal justice process can now run its course."

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