What are the panalties for refusing to sign?

THE report on the case of the guesthouse paedophile (Mercury, May 18) raises, in my mind, some interesting points which seem to show

THE report on the case of the guesthouse paedophile (Mercury, May 18) raises, in my mind, some interesting points which seem to show how George Orwell's 1984 is becoming less of a work of fiction.It has been reported the guesthouse owners have been forced to sign a 'secrecy agreement' to protect the identity of their 'guest'. I am aware that we have an Official Secrets Act, but have always thought that this had to be signed prior to a person being made aware of a secret. Now it seems that this can be applied retrospectively, or perhaps it is another secrecy act which is on the statute book that few of us are aware of?One wonders what the penalties are if one decides to divulge the information which one didn't know was 'secret' before being forced to sign the so-called agreement? What are the penalties for refusing to sign such an agreement? Were the guesthouse owners threatened in some way? If one refuses to sign the Official Secrets Act one simply doesn't get to know the secret(s). In this case we seem to have the cart before the horse, the secret was revealed before the 'agreement' was applied.J LUXON - Lyddon Road, Weston


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