I had a response from the CPS reference my Freedom of Information request.
Nope, couldn’t see anything in there about CPS Prosecutors holding confidential or sensitive case conferences with police!
On 6th December, 2017 I had my Misconduct Meeting with Warwickshire Superintendent 230200 Richard Long. As well as my Regulation 22 response I had already submitted, I produced the following document for this meeting, pointing out errors and conflicting information by DI Marin TAYLOR, which might assist to question his reliability and integrity.
Following my Regulation 22 response to this allegation of Misconduct,
I wish to note/ add the following points and observations.
The basis of the complaint is that the Senior Investigating Officer for Operation Childer, Detective Inspector Martin Taylor alleges that ‘Andy’ told him that I had said to her that during the meeting with CPS the solicitor stated “it was clear that you haven’t investigated hunt saboteurs before”.
Without wishing to be disrespectful of DI Taylor, I feel that is important and right to draw to your attention concerns/mistakes/errors and incorrect assumptions that were made by him during the investigation into Operation Childer and the investigation into myself.
I had been investigating the offence of animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act, by myself for nearly 2 months. My Inspector, Bob Barnet had nominated me for a Commendation for my work on this case amongst other things.
On 18/07/16 DI Taylor sent me, DS Wells and DC Cleeton an email saying, “Having looked at this matter, the more suitable offence is”.
He then had a link to PNLD, Cruelty to a wild mammal under the Wild Mammals(Protection) Act 1996.
I then responded saying that both the RSPCA and The National Wildlife Crime Unit had advised me that the Animal Welfare Act was more appropriate. (This is the offence currently being investigated).
There was no acknowledgement of this error.
In his statement dated 02/11/16 DI Taylor said that it was in the meeting of 25/07/16 that he informed me that he was taking ownership of the matter and that DC Cleeton was going to be the OIC for the investigation.
This was not the case. I was informed of this decision by DI Taylor on the 26/07/16 by email. (Documents 3 and 4 on my Grievance paperwork refers).
At the top of page 3 of DI Taylor’s statement he said, “Due to the sensitive nature of this comment I did not probe ‘Andy’ over it as I felt it was more appropriate to deal with this matter internally at a later date”.
He did not deal with this matter internally. He presented the information to Stephen Davies at the CPS two and a half months later on 24/10/16 who then made a complaint on 28/10/16.
The Memo Report containing the complaint was sent to Professional Standards on 08/11/16 and I was eventually served a notice for misconduct on 14/12/16, four months later.
DI Taylor was concerned enough to make a note of the comment and exhibit that note on 11/08/16. Why did he not deal with it at the time ‘to provide a fair, open and proportionate method of dealing with alleged misconduct’ dealing promptly and effectively as set out in the Home Office Guidance for Police Officer Misconduct?
Furthermore, DI Taylor’s exhibit MCT1 is apparently written in a ‘loose leaf A4 notebook’. Why is it not written in his pocket notebook?
DI Taylor took the trouble to document the fact that he was going to Abergavenny to see ‘Andy’ in his notebook, a matter not evidential. Why would he not therefore put what he considered to be an evidential matter in his notebook. It would then be clear that this was evidenced on this date.
It would also be in line with West Mercia Police’s Policy/Procedure on the use of pocket notebooks.
DI Taylor, as the Senior Investigating Officer for Operation Childer sent a Memo Report to Professional Standards and the Crown Prosecution Service dated 08/11/16. This report is very similar to Doc 7 on my Grievance report which DI Taylor used as a basis to interview me on 05/12/16.
DI Taylor obviously felt concerned enough about me to have Professional Standards look at the issue and yet he failed to check the accuracy of the report and made assumptions based on information which was not credible.
The information about ‘Andy’ having an affair with a police officer came from the NFU who could hardly be seen to be impartial or independent. Not only that, it was not backed up by any evidence and yet it was given credibility!
I was not named as being the officer suspected of having the affair and yet was apparently the only officer made to send an email confirming this.
I was accused of disclosing evidence with ‘suspects’ in the case. DI Taylor knew that the people I had spoken to were not suspects but important witnesses who gave a statement which would be crucial to the prosecution. I made this clear in an email to him dated 26/07/16. (Doc 3) DI Taylor makes no mention of this on Doc 7.
DI Taylor asked me about opening the exhibit bags containing the SD cards. He accused me of not updating the Property Management System, having a clear break in the continuity of the exhibits and not recording my actions in my statement. I was able to show DI Taylor that none of this was true and he simply said that he’d missed it! He made no apology for this, despite raising it as a serious issue with Professional Standards.
A grievance that I submitted in respect of this was upheld by Superintendent Purcell who apologised to me on behalf of the Organisation.
I feel that his letter dated 09/05/17 is a very important document to consider.
Superintendent Purcell investigated my complaint and at point 2 in this letter stated ‘That there was no evidence that you had done anything inappropriate during that investigation and there was no evidence of improper relationships with anyone’.
Perhaps more worrying are the different accounts given by DI Taylor, when asked the same question.
On the 02/12/16 when I asked DI Taylor in an email what points needed clarifying so that I could prepare myself for the meeting he replied that it was far too complicated to send by email.
In respect of question 2 in my Grievance Resolution ‘Why could the information in Doc 7 not have been given to me when requested on 02/12/16? I was not being investigated for any disciplinary matters’.
DI Taylor’s first response to CI Francis on 21/01/17 was that in his Professional judgement, it was not appropriate to do so.
In a later meeting with CI Francis DI Taylor stated, ‘However the Email was worded this way following advice from ‘Richard’s sergeant’ who informed me that if I had fully explained to Richard what was going to happen he would have gone sick’.
My sergeant has told me that he never said this to DI Taylor!
A local sergeant investigated crimes of harassment against my wife and I.
In a letter updating us about his investigation it appears that DI Taylor told him 2 different answers to the same question!
As stated, I have no wish to be disrespectful to DI Taylor but hope you will agree that I have documented errors that he has made in other aspects of this investigation.
It is in this light that I hope you will give consideration to the allegation.
Respectfully submitted for your consideration.
PC 3202 Barradale-Smith
Also, remember what Superintendent Purcell had said about him. ‘ He’s a danger to me. He’s a danger to the organisation.
So, we had the meeting and I was supported by Fed Rep 2. This was the outcome!
So, Misconduct Meetings should be judged on the ‘balance of probabilities’.
A Detective Inspector has alleged that I have disclosed something to ‘Andy’, being fairly specific about the words I had said. I have said that I did not knowingly disclose confidential and sensitive information from the meeting of 25/07/16. ‘Andy’ has said that I did not disclose anything from that meeting to her.
So 2 people, including the victim in the case, say it didn’t happen. One person, who is apparently a ‘danger to the organisation’ said it did.
I’m not great at maths, but I reckon that on the balance of probabilities………it didn’t happen.
But let’s have a look at what happened again. I have always been very clear about the words used in that meeting. Public Prosecutor, Stephen Davies said, “Have you had any experience in dealing with these sort of people before”? I said, “What sort of people”? Stephen Davies replied, “Animal Rights people”. That is what was said.
So, if I had repeated this to ‘Andy’, this is what she would have presumably said to DI Martin Taylor and these are the words that he would have written on his ‘blank note book paper’. But Martin Taylor wrote words along the same lines as Stephen Davies, ‘it was clear that you haven’t investigated Hunt saboteurs before’, and so they had clearly got together to establish their preferred version of what had been said. (Please bear with me)
When I was served the misconduct notice in December 2016 it was alleged that, ‘you have disclosed confidential and sensitive information from the case conference to ‘Andy’. When I asked for clarification on this Wendy Elliott said…….
‘This complaint arose from a comment made at a meeting in August 2016 where ‘Andy’ stated that PC Barradale-Smith told her that during the meeting with CPS the solicitor stated “it was clear that you haven’t investigated hunt saboteurs before”. This was a comment made by Mr Davies and as we discussed previously Mr Davies had stated that the content of the meeting on the 25/07/16 was confidential’.
I questioned DS Husbands, (PSD) earlier about the ‘woolly’ wording change on my Reg 21 notice served on me on 13/11/17. ‘It is alleged that after being informed in a case conference you attended with CPS that it was sensitive and should not be discussed outside of the conference, you spoke to ‘Andy’, a witness in the case and discussed elements of that meeting with her.
And then it made sense…….
You see, after my mobile phone was seized during the warrant, it was thoroughly examined. The officer/s who examined it, looked at outgoing and incoming call data to see if I had been in contact with ‘Andy’ or anyone in the HIT team prior to the 28/05/16.
But the officers didn’t stick to the confines of the warrant. They also decided to check the recording facility on my phone and discover that various meetings I had attended had been recorded.
But had the meeting with Stephen Davies been recorded? Well, PSD didn’t know and I think that is the reason they changed the wording to make it very non specific when they realised that I might be able to prove what I had been saying!
And so for the misconduct outcome, it appeared that ‘somebody’ wanted misconduct found. But wait, that would mean that the original officer in the case, (me) and one of the main prosecution witnesses, (‘Andy’) were both ‘found’ to be liars. This was a disclosable document which would obviously cause serious detriment to the Operation Childer case.
Perhaps that was the plan!!
Oh, and as for the top paragraph on the second page of Superintendent Long’s report above……..read the policy below and decide for yourself!