(65) Finally……………….a response from the Crown Prosecution Service

What about this promise of my concerns raised to the CPS being taken seriously? I had received no update despite being told about the meeting taking place on 10th July. I didn’t want to contact the CPS unnecessarily due to being served papers for gross misconduct, having done so previously. I asked my ‘point of contact’ DS Husbands who told me that he had not heard anything.

Oh well, in for a penny………………………………….

Well…..that made me feel like a bit of a tit!!

What on earth was going on. It felt like I was being set up!

Understatement! And so, the below email was sent by David Elliott, a Senior District Crown Prosecutor to Assistant Chief Constable, Martin Evans. He too, clearly hadn’t heard of the 1996 Public Interest Disclosure Act and had a preferred ‘local liaison’ method of sweeping things under the carpet!!

And here it was. Senior District Crown Prosecutor, David Elliott’s attempt at protecting a fellow senior colleague’ actions………….

Quite frankly………utter tosh. I thought I’d better make my position clear and so I sent the below email!

Date: 13 August 2018 at 07:19:48 BST
To: “Husbands,Nicholas” <nicholas.husbands@westmercia.pnn.police.uk>
Cc: Anna 0101 Middleton <anna.middleton@warwickshire.pnn.police.uk>, Amanda Blakeman <Amanda.blakeman@westmercia.pnn.police.uk>, graham.farren@warwickshire.pnn.police.uk
Subject:Complaint to Crown Prosecution Service

DS Husbands, Thank you for forwarding this response from the CPS to me and I completely understand how the error occurred.
Having read the response from David Elliott I am concerned that obvious misconduct by Public Prosecutor, Stephen Davies is being ignored and a proper investigation into his behaviour has not been carried out. I am also concerned that the tone of his letter is deliberately dismissive and attempts to belittle what is a genuine public interest concern. I feel that if not investigated properly a miscarriage of justice could occur in relation to Operation Childer.
Our Code of Ethics sets out in detail the principles and expected behaviours that underpin the Standards of Professional Behaviour for everyone working in the policing profession in England and Wales.The standards of professional behaviour, as reflected in the Code of Ethics, are a statement of the expectations that the police and the public have of how police officers should behave.
I wish to make it clear that in reporting my concerns, I do so with the above at the forefront of my motivation and for no personal gain whatsoever. As stated, this is a Public Interest concern.Indeed, the decision to send this report is certainly not the easy route and I fear many officers would simply be silenced by Mr Elliott’s response.
My concerns are as follows:
The issues in relation to Stephen DaviesMr Elliot states that it was in his capacity as Lead for Wildlife and Heritage issues that Mr Davies attended the meeting at Hereford Police Station in July 2016 and that he is regularly consulted for advice by all four police forces in his area.As previously stated, the police did not seek his advice. Mr Davies saw the article on the news following which he contacted Police Inspector Emma Whitworth, in her capacity as Wildlife crime spoc raising concerns over the national and regional reputational issues that the case could bring forward. It was Mr Davies that wanted the meeting.
(What is also worthy of note is that in the early part of 2017 an assault was reported during a hunt in the Malvern area. This was nothing to do with a wildlife crime but again the National Press reported on it. Mr Davies apparently contacted the police in a similar way and wanted to become involved. I understand that his ‘intervention’ was rejected and the crime was updated accordingly).
Mr Elliott goes on to say that although Mr Davies provides advice, particularly at an early stage in investigations, he does not necessarily handle final charging decisions or conduct the preparation or prosecution of those cases. He says that Mr Davies’s involvement was very limited in this case, that it was never allocated to him and he had no further involvement beyond this initial meeting with the police in July 2016.
This is a lie. Mr Davies was very much involved in Operation Childer at least until the end of October 2016. He was at a case conference in Birmingham on 24th October 2016 attended by Martin Taylor and PSD have documents proving this.Within this documentation he quotes the URN number. The case conference was to discuss the evidence for Operation Childer.If the case was never allocated to him, what was Mr Davies doing holding a case conference about it?Would he not have handed over his advice/ paperwork/ involvement to The Complex Case Unit?Please note that Mr Elliott states that the case was allocated to The Complex Case Unit following the meeting in July. That being the case, Stephen Davies must have been working with them as he held the case conference in October.
Mr Elliott states that the victims are in fact the animals which were the subject of the investigation! I beg to differ and believe the case at court will show ‘Regina’ as the victim.In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary defines a victim as being a ‘person’ harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action. No mention of animals.
More worryingly is that the victims who reported this cruelty to me in the first place, are evidently not being treated as such!
The Ministry of Justice Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (October 2015) is clear. https://www.cps.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/legal_guidance/OD_000049.pdf
At the ‘Introduction’, Section 4 it states:‘For the purposes of this code, a “victim” is:A natural person who has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by a criminal offence’.
I took statements from two of the persons reporting this crime and can assure you that they both suffered emotional harm as a direct result of this offence.I find it, at best, very disappointing that this code has obviously not been adhered to and, this too may be an example of how they are being discriminated against.
Even if they are being treated as witnesses, Standard 1 in the Code of practice states that they will be treated with dignity and respect at all times by each of the service providers in the criminal justice system.
I want to be clear about what Stephen Davies said in that meeting of 25th July 2016.“Have you had any experience in dealing with these sort of people before”I said, “what sort of people”?He replied, “Animal rights people”.
Is this type of language really still acceptable. If he had said the same about black people, Jewish people, Gay people would it be acceptable?

IPCC.GOV.UK states, Making Generalisations, 

5.39 Speaking in generalisations may be an indication that a person is making judgements based on assumptions rather than individual circumstances and the evidence and intelligence available to them.

5.40 Examples include making generalisations about non- descript groups such as “those people” or “people round here” or “people like you/him/her” as well as in relation to specific groups such as black people, Gypsies, gays etc. It is important to consider the context in which the language is used and the nature of the generalisation. Particular attention should be paid to generalisations that have negative connotations or that indicate an ‘us and them’ divide. 

5.41 Even if it is unclear whether the language is discriminatory, the use of such generalisations should flag concerns that should be explored further. For example, questions put to the officers or staff members involved might include’ who were you referring to when you mentioned ‘those people’?, ‘what did you mean’?, ‘how did this impact on the approach you took’?

Reference to a characteristic which is irrelevant to the policing purpose.

5.42 In some circumstances, describing a person’s race, religion, gender, age, disability etc will be relevant to a legitimate policing purpose-i.e. to help identify a suspect or victim, or to provide a service that takes account of a person’s individual needs. However, reference to clearly irrelevant details about a person that distinguish them as ‘different’ may suggest a discriminatory approach.
Mr Elliott states that Stephen Davies has not acted in contravention of the CPS Code of Conduct or contrary to CPS values.I strongly disagree with this. Kier Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions in 2009 endorced the Statement of Ethical Principles for the Public Prosecutor.
In it it states they must ‘strive to be, and be seen to be, consistent, independent, fair and impartial’.
‘Respect the right of all people to be held equal before the law – Prosecutors must never act in a way that unjustifiably favours or discriminated against particular individuals or interests’.
‘Prosecutors must not knowingly participate in, or seek to influence, the making of a prosecution decision in regard to any case where their personal or financial interests or their family, social or other relationships would influence their conduct as a prosecutor. They should not act as a prosecutor or advise in cases in which they, their family or business associates have a personal, private or financial interest or association’.Mr Elliott states that he does not consider the questions I raised regarding Mr Davies’s personal life and friendships are pertinent. I didn’t write the above, Kier Starmer did.
Mr Davies said that ‘he shoots’ but this was not in the context as described by Mr Elliott.Also, it has been stated that Mr Davies does not have any financial interest in hunting. I can only assume from this that he does have a personal interest in hunting. Certainly, as previously stated, in 2016 he spent Christmas Day with DS Wells who has previously hunted and was/ is an investigating officer in this case.What would the Public think of this?

In her letter to me dated 26/07/18, DCC Blakeman said that it was agreed that CPS would record my complaint and address the issues I raised in accordance with their complaints policy.My complaint has clearly not been recorded and Stephen Davies has merely been spoken to by his Line Manager. In an email sent to me by Mr Elliott on 10/08/18 he stated ‘The issue is not covered by our complaints procedure, as you will see from that letter’.
In his letter dated 24/07/18 (in attached email), Mr Elliot states that Suzanne Llewelyn had liaised with ACC Teds in April 2017 to discuss this issue. ( I received no feedback from this and so was unaware that this took place).
Mr Elliot states that the CPS Complaints and Feedback Policy does not apply in my particular circumstances as I am not a victim of crime but complaining in my Professional capacity. I raised this concern, both with senior officers in the police and then, having failed to have it addressed, directly with the CPS. I did so as a Whistleblower and wish to continue to make this clear.
The ‘local liaison arrangements’ apparently in place for engagement between senior police officers and senior CPS Managers do not appear to be conducive with The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. (Principles of good complaint handling and Principles of good administration.This states, ‘ Public bodies should do what they say they are going to do. If they make a commitment to do something they should keep to it, or explain why they cannot. They should meet their published service standards, or let customers know if they cannot’ https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/sites/default/files/page/0188-Principles-of-Good-Complaint-Handling-bookletweb.pdf
Also of note is that the ‘local liaison arrangements’ sits on a one way street.Stephen Davies was able to make a complaint about me in October 2016 which was dealt with by Professional Standards. When they made a decision that there was no case to answer Mr Davies appealed the Decision with the IOPC.Where is the parity in him being able to do this and yet at the same time CPS telling us that I cannot make a direct complaint?
The CPS published their annual report and accounts for 2016-2017.https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/628968/CPS_annual_report_2016_17.pdf
One of the four strategic objectives in 2016-2017 was: ‘Ensuring public confidence in our ability to deliver justice through being effective and making fair, open and transparent decisions’
We will be independent and fair. We will prosecute independently, without bias, and will seek to deliver justice in every case.We will be honest and open. We will explain our decisions, set clear standards about the service the public can expect from us and be honest if we make a mistake. We will treat everyone with respect. We will respect each other, our colleagues and the public we serve, recognising that there are people behind every case.We will behave professionally and strive for excellence.We will work as one team, always seeking new and better ways to deliver the best possible service for the public. We will be efficient and responsible with tax payers money.

I first reported my concerns about Mr Davies in 2016. It is my view that any further delay in properly investigating this matter could leave West Mercia Police and West Midlands CPS open to allegations that the Prosecution has manipulated the court process in order to avoid disclosure issues. That could result in an application to stay any prosecution as an abuse of process.
As previously stated, writing this report has not been the easiest option and I do it on public interest grounds. I now seek the support of West Mercia and Warwickshire Police in doing the right thing and challenging what is quite clearly an attempt to cover up wrongdoing.
Respectfully submitted for your consideration at attention.
Richard Barradale-Smith

Sent from my iPad

Would DS Husbands or any of the other senior officers I had copied into the report have the integrity to do something about it? Mr Elliot was clearly lying about Stephen Davies’s involvement in this case after 25/07/16. There are earlier reports in this blog proving his involvement after this date irrefutably. We’re they all happy for West Mercia Police to be working alongside people who would lie and cover up wrongdoing…..no matter what?

Mr Elliott did not write to me in a balanced and rational way, having carefully considered the evidence presented to him. It was clearly a ‘get back in your box/ who do you think you are/ I am completely dismissing you/ don’t darken my door again letter to protect a ‘senior prosecutor’.

How might the attitudes of such senior people affect the potential outcome of this court case? Did they even really want the case to go to trial?

And you, the public, police officers, friends. Is this the behaviour you would expect from two professional organisations responsible for ensuring justice is served?

7 thoughts on “(65) Finally……………….a response from the Crown Prosecution Service

  1. I would expect that the Solicitors Regulatory Authority still oversees the conduct of individual solicitors even if they are in the public sector?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Disappointing response from David Elliot, one designed to dismiss and belittle rather than address the very serious and well articulated public-interest concerns that Richard raised.

    Stephen Davies didn’t reveal he was into shooting in the context in which Elliot claims, which could be owing to Elliot putting too much faith in Davies’ subsequent account of the meeting – or perhaps to his own unstated interests.

    After all, most people would see multiple conflicts of interest between Davies being a CPS prosecutor, working on a case involving cruelty to fox cubs by hunt members, and choosing to spend Xmas Day with a police officer, also working on the same case, and who previously took part in fox hunts in a recreational capacity!

    Davies’ use of the term ‘these people’ to describe the witnesses/victims in this case, speaks volumes about his ability to remain impartial when hunters stand accused of breaking the law.

    That he takes it upon himself to contact police to offer up his ‘expertise’ in high profile ‘wildlife crime’ cases such as Operation Childer is a sign of someone with a fanatical agenda. His stated concern for ‘reputational’ issues relating to hunts/hunters accused of crime is at odds with his roles as a CPS prosecutor and ‘wildlife crime’ consultant. As a prosecutor, his concern should be for the victims and prosecution witnesses, not for the reputation of the defendants and their associates, who in this particular case, were caught training their hounds to develop a taste for killing foxes in illegal hunts by using captive fox cubs as live dog bait. What’s to defend?

    Unfortunately, the CPS is only as good, reliable and honest as the people who work there…

    Liked by 1 person

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