It was his duty to preserve the information received by him by fax as a secret. Being a civil servant, he must have had some experience in making a difference between secret information and a public one. Geoffrey might be found guilty under subsection 1, Section3 of the Act (1) as being A person who is or has been a Crown servant or government contractor is guilty of an offense if without lawful authority he makes a damaging disclosure of—(a)any information, document or other article relating to international relations. Geoffrey told his wife Jean about the information in the fax without lawful authority, as required by the law. According to Section 7 of the Act For the purposes of this Act, authorized disclosure is defined as a disclosure by a Crown servant is made with lawful authority if, and only if, it is made in accordance with his official duty. Geoffrey did not have the necessary authorization to disclose that kind of information and therefore, he should have kept it to himself.On the other hand, Geoffrey might have not known that this information was secret, as the case description speaks about a secret agreement between Government ministers and the United Nations that no exact figures would be given as to the number involved. Therefore, he might raise the defense provided by the Official Secrets Act 1989, in Section 3, subsection (4), which stipulates that: It is a defense for a person charged with an offense under this section to prove that at the time of the alleged offense he did not know, and had no reasonable cause to believe, that the information, document or article in question was such as is mentioned in subsection (1) above or that its disclosure would be damaging within the meaning of that subsection.If Geoffrey can prove that he was not aware that the information wasconfidential and its disclosure would be damaging, he might avoid being held liable for disclosing it.
A Secret Agreement between Government Ministers and the United Nations