Mr E Cairns
19 September 2010
Mr John McNeill
HAMILTON ML3 3AR
Your refs: PCCS/00448/08 and
Dear Mr McNeill,
I refer to your letter dated 16 September 2010.
In that letter you acknowledged that I take exception to the reference in your report to me having written 82 letters of complaint to Strathclyde Police.
Several press articles highlighted this point and criticised me for wasting substantial public resources thereby.
As already notified to you, this is inaccurate personal information that I warned you to stop processing but you have continued to do so by repeating this falsehood in your recent letter.
A simple proof would settle this issue.
Please provide a list of the 82 complaints references allocated to these 82 complaints by Strathclyde Police and copies of the 82 responses from Strathclyde Police on which public resources were apparently wasted according to your report.
Of course you cannot provide any such proof because your assertions in respect of this point are false. Your false assertions are very damaging to my professional reputation.
Nevertheless, this is a formal request for you either to provide these proofs or to correct the inaccurate data as required under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998.
The data in question do not comply with the fourth data protection principle:
‘Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.’
Part I of the Data Protection Act 1998 includes the following:
‘In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires - .......... ‘’personal data’’ means data which relate to a living individual who can be identified from those data or from those data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller, and includes any expression of opinion about the individual and any indication of the intentions of the data controller or any other person in respect of the individual.’
Part V of the Act notes the following:
‘The fourth data protection principle requires a data controller to keep personal data accurate, and where necessary, up to date. A data controller will be required to rectify, block, erase or destroy any inaccurate data, including any expressions of opinion based on inaccurate data.’
In Part II of the Act the following is noted with reference to the fourth principle:
‘The steps that the data controller must take in ensuring the accuracy of the data depend on the individual circumstances of the case. It is clear that the greater the chance of risking the rights and freedoms of the individual, the greater the steps must be in ensuring that the data are accurate.’
If you refuse to correct this I will request permission from the Court of Session to raise an action against you personally for defamation by the end of October 2010.
As I warned you in my letter dated 18 September 2010:
‘In truth, your persistence in the falsehood about me having sent 82 complaints to Strathclyde Police, knowing that it is false, is malicious and actionable.’
‘In these circumstances I have grounds for a substantial claim against you personally for defamation. The element of malice in your conduct would preclude any defence of qualified privilege.’
According to Kenneth McK Norrie’s book, Defamation and Related Actions in Scots Law, Butterworths, (1995), at page 74:
‘An individual is liable for his or her own delicts, committed either personally or through the medium of another. To instruct one’s employee to defame another is to commit the wrong oneself (though the employee will be personally liable too). If more than one person joins in the defamation each is personally liable for the whole loss to the pursuer, for, notwithstanding that the defamation is committed by more than one person, liability is individual and not joint and several.’
‘At page 75 Norrie states:’
‘‘........ the best evidence of malice, and the most conclusive, is proof that the defender knew the statement to be false.’’
Separately, I have written to the Information Commissioner about this.
In view of the very serious nature of the above and its relevance to wider issues in this case I have copied this letter to Strathclyde Police, to Scottish Enterprise, to the Scottish Government’s Ms Stella Manzie, Director General Justice and Communities, to Audit Scotland, to Mr Bob Doris MSP and to the Crown Office.
This is clearly a matter of public interest that would tend to undermine the public’s confidence in the administration of justice, justice not having been seen to be done.
This letter has therefore been put into the public domain as is entirely appropriate in these circumstances.