Mr E Cairns
13 September 2010
Mr John McNeill
Your refs: PCCS/00448/08 and
Dear Mr McNeill,
Further to my letter dated 10 September 2010, I again refer to your report on the handling of my complaints by Strathclyde Police dated August 2010 and your letter dated 8 September 2010.
A significant falsehood in your report has been highlighted in press reports today. That falsehood is reproduced below:
‘During the period 2001 to 2009 the applicant has written some 82 letters to Strathclyde Police in which he makes both criminal and non criminal complaints about the police.’
I have most certainly written nothing like 82 letters of complaint against Strathclyde Police. Have Strathclyde Police taken time to respond to 82 complaints from me? Absolutely not.
You cannot possibly produce 82 letters of complaint from me against Strathclyde Police because that grossly exaggerated number is simply a calumnious fabrication.
As can very easily be verified I submitted only two application forms to the PCCS for review and these were in respect of only two complaints against Strathclyde Police. The following statement in your report is a blatant distortion of the truth:
‘In all, the applicant has asked the Commissioner to review 12 complaints.’
The first application form was submitted to the PCCS on 17 November 2008 and the second on 21 June 2010.
The exact texts of the sections in these forms containing details of the matters I submitted for review by the PCCS 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’
These details related to only two specific complaints that I had submitted earlier to Strathclyde Police and in response to which I had received two corresponding letters from Strathclyde Police, one dated 19 September 2008 and one dated 11 June 2010.
You knew therefore that I had actually asked the PCCS to review only two formal complaints that had been submitted to Strathclyde Police.
The PCCS wrote to me on 23 June 2010, almost two years after I had submitted my first application form, including the following statement in respect of the PCCS’s identification of ten heads of complaint:
‘I have (sic) an initial examination of the papers in your case and have identified what I believe to be your grounds of complaint.’
These grounds of complaint would of course have to have been identified in relation to the two complaints that I submitted for review.
On 11 August 2010 the PCCS wrote to me including the following statement in respect of the PCCS’s own suggested addition of two heads of complaint:
‘I refer to your complaints about Strathclyde Police and write to inform you that the following grounds of complaint (known as ‘’heads of complaint’’) have (sic) identified in addition to those communicated to you in my letter of 3 June 2010.’
Subsequently, however, this total of twelve heads of complaint identified by the PCCS in respect of the two formal complaints against Strathclyde Police that were submitted to the PCCS for review was misrepresented in your report in the following terms:
‘In all, the applicant has asked the Commissioner to review 12 complaints.’
This is a direct falsehood that can easily be verified with reference to the two application forms I submitted to the PCCS.
A reasonable suspicion arises that you have tried to undermine my credibility by promulgating these derogatory falsehoods about me.
In particular, you have given the false impression that I have wasted public resources thereby, which is of course very damaging to my professional reputation.
Your recommendation to Strathclyde Police appears to be largely predicated upon these falsehoods and in that regard Chief Superintendent John Pollok is quoted in the Scotsman today in the following terms:
‘The decision to restrict this member of the public’s access to the complaints process was taken reluctantly and was based on the need to concentrate scarce police resources to the investigation to bona fide complaints. We welcome the PCC’s findings.’
Which of my two complaints was not bona fide? I would most definitely not waste time on presenting any spurious complaints and your report contains no specific reference to any such non bona fide complaint. This is just another defamatory allegation against me that you are responsible for perpetrating.
Your report has not identified any specific complaint as not bona fide yet you have recommended that Strathclyde Police should restrict my access to the complaints process. Why? This is manifestly incongruous. You have taken this adverse decision against me with absolutely no justification that accords with the facts or with the reasoning in your report relative to the twelve heads of complaint.
In your Summary and Key Findings you include the following statement:
‘The Commissioner has found that with the exception of one, all of these complaints were dealt with reasonably by Strathclyde Police.’
But there were only two complaints against Strathclyde Police submitted to the PCCS for review, not 12.
The only apparent basis in your report for making the recommendation that Strathclyde Police should ignore future related complaints from me is your own fabrication about a fictitious 82 letters of complaint and your misrepresentation of the 12 heads of complaint in respect of the two police complaints, falsely pretending that these were 12 separate police complaints.
You were supposed to be focusing on twelve heads of complaint that the PCCS had identified from documentation relating only to the two application forms that I submitted in respect of two police complaints.
These were not 12 separate complaints at all but you have misrepresented them as 12 separate complaints. A further 70 unspecified so-called complaints have been referred to but given no detailed consideration in your report whatsoever. In any event you had obtained no submission or agreement from me on any such 82 complaints for review by the PCCS.
This is clearly a glaring deviation from your standard procedure. What were the other 80 unspecified supposed complaints that you have actually not considered in your report, (because in fact they don’t exist), but which you have deviously attempted to blame me for raising?
I raised only 2 complaints against Strathclyde Police for review by the PCCS, not 82. Your blatant lies on this point are outrageous.
The following comments attributed to you in the Scotsman yesterday are unfounded and absolutely disgraceful in the light of your claim to be an ardent supporter of protecting the rights of individuals:
‘Substantial resources had been directed towards trying to understand and resolve the various complaints over an extended period of time.’
In reality Strathclyde Police produced minimal, delayed, evasive and dishonest responses to my formal complaints and the PCCS had a mandate to review only two complaints, with 12 heads of complaint identified.
Having recognised in recent months that the PCCS was processing inaccurate personal information about me I formally warned the PCCS about that in a letter dated 26 June 2010 including the following relevant points:
‘Unless the PCCS checks the important facts that I have notified the PCCS to have been misstated and corrects them in accordance with the available evidence any such processing would simply be unlawful.’
‘Knowingly processing harmful falsehoods about me could have very serious consequences.’
‘Firstly, any report that has been produced without checking the facts would be worse than useless and the general public would quickly come to despise any publicly funded organisation that attempted to operate in that way, especially in these times of close scrutiny of all public expenditure.’
‘Secondly, there would be grounds for legal action to enforce the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998. Your stated intentions towards me, effectively to continue to process inaccurate personal information, directly breach those terms. The Information Commissioner has already confirmed to me in writing that information in the context of my complaints is regarded as personal information for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998. Do you really think you can get away with blatantly disregarding such clear statutory terms as those to which I have made reference?’
‘Thirdly, any person who knowingly repeats defamatory material about me would thereby be acting maliciously and would be personally liable in a substantial claim for solatium in which there would not be a requirement for any monetary loss to be proved, in which the onus of proof that the defamatory statements are in fact true would be on the defender, and in which the element of malice 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.’’
‘Fourthly, any professional who knowingly misrepresents the law or important facts could be investigated for professional misconduct.’
‘My letter dated 7 June 2010 covered two main objectives, firstly to add points to my existing complaint about Strathclyde Police and secondly to point out specific inaccuracies in personal data both originating in the PCCS and as reported by others to the PCCS and held on your files for processing.’
‘In that letter I formally notified you of my concern that if such processing continues without the inaccuracies being corrected this is likely to cause me unwarranted or substantial damage or distress.’
‘You appear to want to disregard unlawfully my right to object to such processing, which is of course a matter of very grave concern.’
‘I did not merely dispute, without any supporting evidence, the information that has been provided to you by others or that you have produced. On the contrary I referred to detailed documentary evidence to prove that in relation to my complaints several statements of fact, statements of opinions about me and statements of intentions towards me, both originating in the PCCS and as reported by others to the PCCS were false or were based upon inaccurate personal data.’
‘According to the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 more care is required in particular to ensure that the more important personal information is accurate and up to date. The PCCS cannot lawfully just accept what is reported by others as accurate and up to date when evidence has been provided indicating that the information in question is in fact inaccurate or out of date, especially in respect of very important details as in this case.’
On 26 June 2010 I wrote a second very important letter to the PCCS in the following terms:
‘In support of points made in my letter to you dated 13 June 2010 I enclose a copy of a letter dated 7 April 2005 from HMIC to Strathclyde Police recently disclosed to me by the PCCS.’
‘That letter includes the following significant statements:’
‘‘Mr Cairns’ suspicion of collusion between the police and others appears largely founded on itemised entries on an account from the solicitors Maclay, Murray and Spens.’’
‘‘.......... HMIC understands that Maclay, Murray and Spens acknowledged, in a letter dated 8 July 2002 to Henessy, Bowie and Co, that a copy of the police report had in fact been supplied to them. HMIC recognises that the means by which the document had been provided was not divulged. This information may, nevertheless, be considered to add substance to Mr Cairns’ interpretation of the itemised account.’’
‘‘Could you please advise if any additional enquiry into Mr Cairns’ complaint was instigated as a result of the force receiving this new information and whether he was provided with an update in relation to the possession of the police report by Maclay, Murray and Spens..........’’
‘‘I can confirm that HMIC has been provided with a copy memorandum dated 19 July 2002 from .......... to Chief Supt ......... concerning the issue and a note, apparently written by Chief Superintendent ........ suggesting that no further action is to be taken.’’
‘The copy of the itemised account in question confirms that the police report was supplied by Detective Sergeant William Watters, the same person who is alleged to have conspired with employees of Enterprise Ayrshire, Scottish Enterprise and others to pervert the course of justice in this case.’
‘I have already indicated to you that a reasonable suspicion arises that the police copy of this report was deliberately destroyed unlawfully, during investigations into my police complaints, and/or during live civil actions and/or ongoing criminal investigations to which it had particular relevance, in order to conceal its obvious defects, including the fact that it had actually been prepared by Scottish Enterprise and was plainly rigged.’
As I stated in my letter to you dated 10 September 2010 in that regard:
‘In particular, your assertion that ‘At the time the applicant made his complaint the police file relating to the applicant’s original fraud allegation had been destroyed in accordance with the Strathclyde Police’s document retention policy’ is not the whole truth.’
‘You knew when you made this statement that the officer in charge of the original police investigation, DS William Watters, had copied the police report to the Scottish Office and later to solicitors Maclay Murray and Spens.’
‘You also knew when you wrote the statements quoted above that I had obtained a copy of that police report in 2003 and had immediately submitted it to Strathclyde Police along with several items of documentary evidence highlighting its many serious failures.’
‘The copy that I obtained from the Scottish Office had been sent by DS Watters to the Scottish Office along with a compliments slip containing the words ‘With the Compliments of the Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police’, signed ‘W. Watters D/S Fraud Squad’.’
‘Consequently, your assertions that ‘any investigation into the independence of the investigating officers would have been hampered by the destruction of the police file’ and that ’any enquiries conducted in relation to this complaint would not have been likely to yield reliable evidence’ are simply disingenuous.’
‘Why have you completely disregarded the existence of this copy of the police report and all the evidence I submitted exposing its inadequacies?’
Consequently, I have written initially to the Information Commissioner in respect of these particularly damaging inaccuracies in my personal data, held and processed by the PCCS.
Shortly, I intend following up on your disgraceful unlawful conduct in accordance with the warnings quoted above.
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.