Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Response to Cornwall Council's latest claims about me

In the light of the statement issued by Cornwall Council earlier today, I have today written to all my colleagues on Cornwall Council with the following:

Dear Colleagues

Yesterday morning I met with the LADO - the council officer who oversees the process involved when there is a potential child protection issue. It was the first time I had been permitted to do so despite this starting back in October last year. This followed a fourth LADO group meeting held in secret last Tuesday to discuss the evidence I had provided which quite clearly proves my innocence.

The LADO admitted correct procedure was not followed in the first three LADO group meetings as I was not informed of what was going on. So if the correct procedure was not followed in that respect, can we be certain that it was followed in others?

And he admitted some of the claims made against me by the council (and described on numerous occasions as 'robust') were in fact wrong. If some of these claims are wrong, how can anyone have confidence in the remainder - most of which I dispute?

What's more, he said the claim that whoever used my card details to access an illegal site did so from overseas was somehow mistakenly inserted into material sent to me by chief executive Andrew Kerr as part of his Code of Conduct complaint against me, and is untrue. Could this apparent about-turn have anything to do with the fact I have proven I was in the UK on the date the police say the site was accessed?

At the end of December, I received a reply from the Met Police to my subject access request. This stated, categorically, that no indecent images were found on my computer. I immediately passed this on to the council and the meeting last Tuesday was the direct result. To be clear, I am still being refused the right to meet with the LADO group. I understand that at their meeting last week they did not even have a lawyer present. Is this a transparent and robust process with which the elected members of the council are happy?

Despite this documentary evidence; evidence from my bank that my card had been used fraudulently; and a statement that the second laptop was not destroyed as claimed, the council say they have other secret information they can't share with me and which they choose to believe over the documents I have received from the Met and my bank. Indeed, they are stooping to falsely implying in a press statement this morning that the documents I have received from the Met may not be real.

It’s all too easy for anyone to make a spurious claim now because the computers no longer exist and neither do many of the police files from the time. So there is no way to either prove or disprove such claims. In any moral society which follows the principles of natural justice, such unverifiable claims cannot be used to damn someone. If the council believe they have verifiable proof then they have a duty to let me see it and to comment on it. If they refuse to do so then they should not be allowed to use it in their secret kangaroo court.

With the council now trying to imply that I am making up evidence, I attach the key statement I have received from the Met Police. The total response from the Met Police runs to 20 pages and I’m not proposing to publish more than an extract as I don’t want hackers and others to be able to use the personal information it contains to target me. But it has all been passed to the council and has also been looked through by Lib Dem group leader Jeremy Rowe who confirmed that it categorically states no images were found.

(DP refers to ‘detained person’ - me. - and NFA means no further action).

What also concerns me is that some of those involved in the LADO process have been actively leaking information and briefing people with convenient tidbits of information supposed to damn me. At last week's meeting, the LADO says he gave a firm instruction that no information was to be passed on to anyone except council chief executive Andrew Kerr and a named council lawyer. Yet the next day I am told that one of the council directors - Trevor Doughty - was briefing certain councillors.

The LADO has confirmed there have not been any other allegations made against me and this all relates to a single use of my card details on an illegal website 12 years ago - something I was in no way involved with. Despite this, they are still wrongly claiming that I represent a serious and ongoing risk to children, with all the completely false connotations that phrase is designed to conjure up. A former public protection officer has stated that this label and its subsequent promulgation via letters to local groups and press releases is without precedent and completely out of proportion with the claims the council is making.

In summary, the council admits that correct procedures have not been followed, that some of the claims made against me are untrue and they have withdrawn others. They have ignored the categorical statement provided by the Met Police that no images were found and the information provided by my bank and my bank in favour of secret ‘claims’ that they refuse to share with me.

If the council is willing to treat me in this manner, who will be next?

UPDATE: I've changed the image that I had originally attached as personal details could apparently be seen on it. The image now shown is a crop of the original.

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