Mr E Cairns
18 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.
The following statements in your letter contain inaccuracies which I have highlighted in bold type and my comments are provided immediately below each extract:
1. ‘You allege that my report contains significant falsehoods, evidence of unfair treatment, misleading statements, defamatory statements and derogatory comments. However, you do not specify what these are.’
On the contrary, my letters specified these concerns in considerable detail.
Since my letters are in the public domain your falsehood in respect of these concerns can easily be verified by any interested party.
2. ‘In your letter dated 13 September 2010 you take exception to the reference in my report to you having written 82 letters of complaint to Strathclyde Police. During the course of my review the police files received confirm that 82 letters were recorded as having been sent by you to Strathclyde Police during the period 28 July 2001 to 23 January 2009. This is a matter of fact.’
Even in this short extract it can be seen that you have unfairly labelled every letter sent by me to Strathclyde Police as a complaint.
I have copies of all my letters and I can categorically state that your assertion about me having sent 82 letters of complaint to Strathclyde Police in the period 28 July 2001 to 23 January 2009 is absolutely false.
Over these years I obtained much relevant new evidence from various sources under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998. The vast majority of my letters simply presented these many new items of documentary evidence to Strathclyde Police.
For example, in May 2009 I obtained important new evidence from Audit Scotland. I sent eight letters to Strathclyde Police in respect of this new evidence, none of which was a letter of complaint at all.
Strathclyde Police generally ignored my letters and this naturally led to me complaining about that a very few times.
That was generally the pattern of my communications with Strathclyde Police. I obtained new evidence, presented it to Strathclyde Police, but heard absolutely nothing.
Your assertion that I sent 82 letters of complaint to Strathclyde Police in respect of which a substantial amount of public money was wasted in police efforts to respond to them is completely false.
Firstly, I never sent anything like 82 letters of complaint.
Secondly, Strathclyde Police generally disregarded my letters completely so no money was wasted at all.
However, two rare responses relating to the alleged fraud in Scottish Enterprise were obtained from Strathclyde Police in recent years in respect of new evidence, one in 2008 which rejected all the evidence that I had obtained from several sources. Strathclyde Police falsely pretended that there was nothing new.
The other rare response from Strathclyde Police relating to the alleged fraud in Scottish Enterprise was in 2010. This rejected all the evidence I had obtained from Audit Scotland in May 2009, again falsely pretending that there was nothing new.
In any event even if the police did already know about any of the evidence I had obtained, the original police report had omitted all of it. That was unacceptable.
Failing to pass on relevant evidence in the context of a criminal investigation is a very serious matter, being an attempt to pervert the course of justice.
In summary, I requested a review by the PCCS of Strathclyde Police’s handling of only the two police complaints that I had raised following Strathclyde Police’s formal rejections of all the new evidence I had presented.
Your pretence that I raised 82 police complaints is absolutely false.
3. ‘Incidentally, this figure does not include those occasions when you sent the same letter to more than one individual within Strathclyde Police.’
I never sent any letters to more that one individual within Strathclyde Police.
This is simply another wildly false accusation that can reasonably be regarded as designed to try to undermine my credibility.
Since it is untrue your disparaging assertion here is rather obviously just another indication of your own disgraceful lack of integrity and your overt bias against me.
4. ‘This same letter also raises concerns that the application form submitted to my office only asked for two "formal complaints" to be reviewed and that my review contained 12 complaints.’
‘As explained in my report, the complaints reviewed were identified from the contents of your application form, the correspondence received from you and the information obtained from Strathclyde Police.’
Firstly, I sent two application forms, not one.
Contrary to your statement in this extract, the complaints reviewed in your report bear very little resemblance to the detailed contents of my requests on the PCCS application forms, which are replicated below:
17 November 2008
’WHY STRATHCLYDE POLICE DID NOT ASK ANOTHER FORCE TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGED FAILURES, IN THE PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES.’
‘STRATHCLYDE POLICE’S STATEMENT THAT ALL THE EVIDENTIAL FACTORS I IDENTIFIED WERE KNOWN TO THE POLICE IN 1994’
21 June 2010
‘A DELAY OF 10 MONTHS IN RESPONDING TO MY LETTERS’
‘FALSE STATEMENTS ABOUT THE 1993 INVESTIGATION’
‘FALSE STATEMENTS ABOUT THE 2004 INVESTIGATION’
‘FALSE STATEMENTS ABOUT THE 2008 INVESTIGATION’
5. ‘On 3 June 2010 your Case Officer wrote to you confirming ten complaints that had been identified. This letter concluded with a paragraph stating:’
‘ "If you do not agree with any of these grounds of complaint, or you believe we should consider additional or fewer grounds, please let me know as soon as possible." ‘
‘On 5 June 2010 you responded to this letter stating:’
‘ "I am pleased that you have provided a summary of what you have identified as my grounds of complaint." ‘
In reality the Case Officer wrote to me confirming ten ‘heads of complaint’ that had been identified, not ten police ‘complaints’.
Your obvious misrepresentation of heads of complaint, falsely pretending that these are separate police complaints, is just another indication of your own questionable logic and woolly thinking.
Separately, a glaring inconsistency about the number of police complaints I had supposedly sent to Strathclyde Police according to your report is plainly revealed in this extract.
You stated that I had sent 82 complaints to Strathclyde Police but then you have identified only 12 complaints in your report. How can this be? There is a considerable discrepancy here that merits an explanation.
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.
6. ‘On 31 August 2010 your Case Officer wrote to you again informing you that two additional complaints under case reference 0119/10 would be included in my review.’
‘In this letter you were asked to contact your Case Officer within seven days if you wished to discuss the matter. No correspondence was received from you raising any concerns about these additional heads of complaint. Accordingly, my complaint handling review was published addressing each of the complaints that had been identified and outlined to you. If you had concerns about the heads of complaint that had been identified then the appropriate time to raise these concerns was in
response to the correspondence from your Case Officer. It is regrettable that you chose not to do so.’
Your use of the terms ‘heads of complaint’ and ‘complaints’ as if these are interchangeable terms is fundamentally misleading.
In reality the Case Officer wrote to me informing me that two additional ‘heads of complaint’ would be included in your review, not two additional police ‘complaints’.
For the sake of accuracy, these two identified heads of complaint related to only one of the two police complaints that I had submitted to the PCCS for review.
7. ‘In your letters of 10 and 13 September 2010 you request that my office stops processing inaccurate personal information about you. However, you do not explain what personal data it is that you believe to be inaccurate. Notwithstanding this, I note that we have dealt with a similar request from you in the past and that we have provided you with details of the proper channel for you to pursue our handling of the matter.’
On the contrary, my letters specified the inaccuracies in considerable detail.
Since my letters are in the public domain your falsehood in respect of this point can easily be verified by any interested party.
8. ‘I fully recognise that you are disappointed with my consideration of your complaints and the conclusions which I have reached. However, it is my view that your complaints have been reviewed in accordance with my statutory role. It is open to you to seek Judicial Review of my decision and you may wish to seek legal advice on the matter.’
On the contrary I am quite pleased because your report is of such low quality and can so easily be exposed as defective in almost every respect imaginable that it supports the many assertions contained in my blog about the disgraceful state of the Scottish justice system.
The PCCS appears to be fundamentally unfit for purpose and an obstacle to justice under your misdirection.
Consequently, the public should realise much sooner than otherwise would have been the case that taxpayers’ money should not be wasted on such an ineffective, inept, dishonest and biased outfit.
The two complaints that I submitted in the applications I sent to the PCCS have in reality not been reviewed in accordance with your statutory role. You have blatantly disregarded your statutory duties and responsibilities, as detailed in my letters, which is a matter of very grave concern.
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.