British Embassy security guard David Smith given 2023 trial date over Russia spying accusations

A court sketch of David Smith, who is accused of spying for Russia while working at the British embassy in Berlin. Credit: PA

A security guard accused of spying for Russia while he worked at the British Embassy in Berlin will face a trial at the Old Bailey next year.

David Smith, 57, allegedly passed secret information about the Government to a military attache.

The British national, who was living in Potsdam, faces nine charges under the Official Secrets Act, which he denies.

On Wednesday, Smith appeared before the Old Bailey by video link from Belmarsh high security jail.

Wearing a green shirt and blue jeans, he spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth before a timetable for the case was set.

Mr Justice Sweeney said a trial would take place from February 13 next year at the Old Bailey.

It will be heard by a High Court judge and take up to four weeks.

A plea and case management hearing was set for July 29.

Following the brief hearing, Smith was remanded into custody.

Smith was arrested by German police on August 10 last year and extradited to the UK earlier this month.

He is accused of gathering information from the embassy and passing it to someone he believed was a representative of the Russian state, as well as other alleged offences, between October 2020 and August last year.

The charges allege Smith “attempted to communicate” by letter with “General Major Sergey Chukhurov, the Russian military attache based out of the Russian Embassy, Berlin”.

The material “contained details about the activities, identities, addresses and telephone numbers of various members of Her Majesty’s Civil Service”.

The British embassy building in Berlin, Germany. Credit: Alex Ehlers/DPA/Press Association Images

Smith allegedly committed acts “prejudicial” to the safety and interest of the state by gathering information classified as “secret” about the “activities of Her Majesty’s Government”.

He allegedly “collected material relating to the operation and layout of the British Embassy in Berlin”, with that information thought or intended to be “useful to an enemy, namely the Russian state”.

Smith also allegedly made unauthorised photocopies of documents, video recordings of the embassy’s CCTV system and “kept sim card packaging” he had been asked to dispose of.

The charges also claim he gave information about building repairs at the embassy after being approached by someone he “believed to be a member of Russian Military Intelligence (the GRU)”.