False imprisonment occurs when a person intentionally restricts another person’s movement within any area without legal authority, justification or consent. Actual physical restraint is not necessary for false imprisonment to occur, – wikipedia.
So, as I previously said, having been taken to this small office with three supervisors surrounding me in an overbearing situation, I was told that I could not leave the police station until I had answered all the questions in writing, and was not afforded the rights entitled to me. Sounds like an offence was being committed to me!
I was told by DI Taylor that Professional Standards Department had been asked to look at these concerns to see if there were any discipline issues that I should be dealt with for. He said that PSD said that there were no discipline issues but there may have been performance issues. He was quite clear about this and repeated it. DI Taylor said that was why my sergeant was present.
(Even when dealing formally with Unsatisfactory Performance, an officer is entitled to speak with a Federation representative ).
I was then made to answer each point, in turn, without having anything to refer to as I had not been allowed to prepare for the meeting.
I made it clear that I was not, and never had any ‘affair’ with ‘Andy (HIT), or the hunt monitor named by Paul Hale. I said that I believed this was an attempt by a person or persons to pervert the course of justice by questioning my professionalism and integrity. I said that it was something that would affect me and all of my family, the investigation into Operation Childer and the reputation of West Mercia Police. I said that I wanted the matter to be investigated fully by CID, in an attempt to find out who had told these lies.
DI Taylor’s response to this was, “No, we won’t. I don’t care about that”. I was furious, raising my voice, “You don’t care about it? You don’t care that someone is telling lies in an attempt to discredit me and get me into trouble”? He said, “No’. I was absolutely livid. He made it quite clear that he really did not care. It was evident that he would have been willing to see me disciplined, had PSD decided there was sufficient evidence, but he could not care less about the welfare of me or that of my family. (Or Andy, a victim in the case). I was disgusted.
DI Taylor said that there were clear performance and disclosure issues and said that if I did not answer the questions, CPS would not charge the suspects and that would be down to me!! He clearly made it sound as though if a prosecution did not go ahead, it would be my fault.
I said that perhaps if DC Cleeton had sat down with me to go through the evidence in the first place, then they probably wouldn’t need to be asking me these questions. DI Taylor sneered, “So you think it’s his fault, do you.”?
I sent the email saying that I was not having the alleged affair. I wrote a statement as requested. I had nothing to hide.
I was clearly able to explain answers to all the questions. A lot of the answers were already available to the CID officers but they had been ‘missed’.
Mr sergeant agreed that there were NO performance issues to address that he could see.
Relationship with ‘Andy’. – Clearly an attempt by someone to pervert the course of justice. Was this ever investigated? No. You’ll see why later, when we find out who it was that made the allegation. CID, were clearly starting to make assumptions, an incredibly dangerous and unprofessional thing to do. They had a copy of my pocket note book and if they had looked at this they would have seen the entry on the 26th May saying that I had phoned her. This phone call was not evidential and so not required to be in my statement. My statement was correct in that I did meet ‘Andy’ for the first time on 28th May. CID put 2 and 2 together and suddenly decided without ANY evidence, that I was somehow involved in the HIT prior to them reporting this offence to me, that I knew about the cameras and the tracking device. Number 5, Have you advised or directed the investigation conducted by ‘Andy’. How dare they. Talk about a fishing trip!
Disclosing Evidence. – CID knew from the outset that I had no evidence of the remaining masters of the hunt being suspects in this offence and they were being treated as witnesses. This is clear in my email to DI Taylor on 26th July. My meeting with the other masters was documented in my pocket note book which CID had a copy of. The question deliberately makes it sound as though I shared evidence with suspects, which they knew was not the case. I needed them to clearly identify the suspects that were on the video evidence, which they did. I disclosed the preliminary results of the post mortem with them as it negated Olivers account that he had given to the other masters about how the fox cubs died. I needed to get a statement from them, a statement which would prove crucial in court.
Compilation of DVD. – I had already answered this question in my original statement at the request of DI Taylor. (see below)! The question again tries to infer that I had somehow been involved in compiling video evidence with the HIT team prior to 28th May. The question refers to an email sent by ‘Andy’ to DI Taylor. The concern had already been answered by ‘Andy’ but the question did not mention this! This was DI Taylor’s response to ‘Andy’s’ email……… 21/09/16 – Dear ‘Andy’, Thank you for the below. I will be honest, this is the first I have heard about copying and returning of the SD cards. I will look into this and come back to you as soon as possible. Can I ask for some clarification on something you have said in your email: ‘we have reviewed most of the data on these cards, however the original case was put together with the footage which we and the police considered to be relevant’. Can I ask who in the police looked / reviewed / knew about the footage to consider it to be relevant to the case as I was under the impression the first time we knew about it was when you came to Ross Police Station?
On the same day ‘Andy’ responded………… Hi Martin, just to clarify. You are correct, the first time the police reviewed the information was when I brought a selection of the SD cards to Ross Police Station. There was some difficulty initially because Richard couldn’t play some of the files on the police computers. There were also some larger files that we had had difficulty copying on to a USB and another HIT member took these over and were reviewed over a number of visits. However, Richard requested all the SD card recordings in case the defence requested full disclosure but bear in mind that we had three sometimes four motion sensor cameras running over a number of days and nights, many which appear to have little or nothing on but carry hours and hours of film. Richard now has all these and they have not I do not believe been reviewed. Hope that clarifies, call me if not. 22/09/16 DI Taylor replied, copying myself and DC Cleeton into the email, ”Andy’, Thank you for the clarification. Richard, Please ensure you cover all this off in your statement as it will no doubt be subject of challenge. Nigel, Can you ensure that we review all the documents to date to ensure this is recorded and explained.
Special Branch. – The statement in this question, ‘Yet the only person who knew they were going were the two SB officers following being contacted by the Gwent Constable’, is incorrect. Parry knew they were going because they had made an appointment to meet him! Parry told the other masters and one of them told me, because I had their trust at that time and nothing more sinister than that.
Exhibits. – There was no clear break in the continuity of the exhibits as described. The rationale as to why they had been opened was clearly displayed on the electronic property management system, (Force Imaging Unit). The completed exhibit labels were within the secondary packaging. On page 6 of my original statement which CID were already in possession of, I had written, ‘On Tuesday 26th July 2016 I took exhibits AA1 to AA12 to The Force Imaging Department at West Mercia Police Headquarters in Worcester. I had intended to copy all of these exhibits onto DVDs. Some of the SD card files were too large to copy on the equipment at this department and so I was unable to do this. I re-sealed the exhibits into the following sealed bags’. (I then listed down the page each exhibit number and the new bag numbers). ‘These exhibits were then replaced in the property store at Ross on Wye Police Station’.
This took up nearly half a page in my 7 page statement!! A DC, DS and a DI had just missed it!! (and then tried to get PSD to discipline me for it)!!
I finished my statement which fully explained the answers to all of these questions. Of course, once they had realised the errors they had made I received a full apology from the CID officers……….Oh wait, no I didn’t. Nothing.
The CID officers had simply chosen to believe a completely un-evidenced ‘report’ of an affair and then tried to make other concerns and questions they had, fit into that story. What or who was driving them to behave in this way? What was making them step outside of dealing with facts and evidence? Perhaps someone else with more power and influence was the driving force behind this and their integrity was overshadowed by this!
Lastly, did anyone from CID explain to ‘Andy’ about the ‘intelligence’ received about the affair. She was essentially one of the victims in the case and would deserve to know that someone was possibly trying to slander her. Well, no, sadly they didn’t . They decided not to give her the chance to defend herself or her family. They decided not to treat her with dignity and respect. I wonder why that was?