As you may have discerned from my previous post any hopes that I might have held for a favourable response from the Police Ombudsman’s Reports on the case were grossly misplaced. Whether the fault lay with the inexperience of Mr Meehan or the ethos of the Office was immaterial. I had lost all faith in both its independence and expertise. The only ray of hope lay with the introduction of the seconded Mr Kane from West Midlands Police and his review of my case and his response to the evidence I presented to him. His views in response are listed in my previous post. It seemed that Mr Meehan didn’t want him to express any views which conflicted with his own but I needed to hear it. Firstly, I was beginning to suspect my solicitor was losing confidence in my alternative view of the causes of the crash and my own family had to be given hope that the brick wall I was continually running into had now a small weak point.
It took three years and a lot of lobbying by me to have the letter released and only then after I had requested it under the Freedom of Information Act. You might wonder who else was entitled to read it or know of its contents but were prevented from access.
On 30th October 2007, at the request of my solicitor, I wrote to Mr Meehan and asked him to provide me with details of the responses made by Sgt McBride when he was interviewed about the allegations in my Complaint. I needed the exact reply given to each question during his interview. I knew that there must have been a detailed record of every question and every answer given. I again requested the information under the Freedom of information Act.
I received a reply just 3 days later saying that Section 63 of the 1998 Police Act prevented him from releasing the requested information to me.
The following day I wrote back to tell him that Section 63 (d) clearly stated that ” No information received by an officer of the Ombudsman shall be disclosed except for the purpose of any criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings.”
He knew full well that we had a Coroners Court hearing pending, and a civil case against Carson in the High Court scheduled for 16th November just some two weeks ahead. It was my firm conclusion that he or the Senior Investigating Officer whose advise he sought was being deliberately obstructive.
I wrote back to him On 13th February with a list of 29 questions to which I required answers. We needed details of McBride’s interview by the Ombudsman. It was sent by my solicitor on my behalf.
“I met with our Senior Legal Advisor, Mr Jim Kitson on Thursday 31 January 2008 to discuss the matter.
In view of the fact that the unfortunate circumstances of the death of Mr Lynn are subject to Coroner’s Court proceedings, I feel it would be more appropriate that the Coroner’s Court be the venue for your client’s detailed questions regarding the action of Police in this investigation.”
This confirmed my belief that the Ombudsman was being deliberately obstructive or attempting to hide the truth which in turn would help protect the Police and/or Carson from censure of any kind.
Of course it could be that they simply didn’t understand the Act of Parliament which laid down the rules under which they were governed.
Is there any significance that the somewhat notorious Al Hutchinson had taken over as the new Ombudsman on 6th November 2007 ?
On 18th February 2008 Meehan sent his ill-judged letter to the Coroner together with evidence I had given him in my initial complaint. Why could the Coroner ask for details which were hidden from my legal team and me ?
Later on Meehan agreed that, if asked, he could give evidence in person to any Court including the Coroner. When the case was eventually heard I wonder why the Coroner refused to call him when asked to do so by me. That will be explored much later.
I copy it here once again for ease of reading.
There are things that are notable about this letter to the Coroner.
Its content whitewashed over Sgt McBride’s corruption in his Collision Report to an even greater extent than Meehan’s First Report in August 2015 ( See Post dated 25/06/ 2018.)
Clearly the Coroner’s Office and most probably the Chief Coroner John Leckey requested the letter. As will be detailed much later I will explain how he tried to change the statements of several of the other vital witnesses. I am firmly of the view that his purpose could only have been to have them agree with his pre-determined causes of the crash. Those witnesses which he could not influence or in some cases protect from committing perjury he simply refused to call them to give evidence. This aspect of the case will be dealt with in much more detail in a series of later posts.
Finally, I will deal briefly with a letter written by Mr John Clerkin, a Deputy Senior Investigating Officer with the Police Ombudsman’s Office.
I despaired of achieving anything positive arising from my complaint to the Police Ombudsman so decided that I would take my complaint directly to Chief Constable Hugh Orde who had stated that under the new Police Act he was personally responsible for the actions of each of his officers. I wrote to him at the end of June 2006.
I will be dealing with this in detail in a later post but my 7 page submission to him included all my findings up to that date.
As this was a formal complaint against Police it was also re-directed to the Ombudsman. It would have been dealt with by Mr Meehan who was my case officer but fate intervened when he fell ill and was not available for a considerable period of time. The Ombudsman’s response was slow, or more accurately, had ground to a halt, and of course the Police had left it all in their hands.
Meehan’s cases were handed over to Mr Clerkin who was probably already under some pressure with his own workload. It was almost a year before I got a result.
The response consisted of four pages of total tripe which bore little reference to my complaint, did not even bear any resemblance to the current state of the investigation by Mr Meehan and in my view was a dangerous document because its content would be used by the Police to close the case down. He had never been properly briefed about the case if at all but, under pressure, wrote a document based on scant knowledge.
There was a strange twist to this matter. Clerkin’s letter was dated 13 March 2007 but I didn’t receive it until 29th May 2007. It was sent to me by Mr Meehan who had now returned to work and after I had asked for a progress update.
Meehan indicated that the letter had been sent to me previously but must have been lost in the post. Why did he not comment on its content and the nonsense he knew it contained? Was it in fact Meehin who briefed Clerkin on what to write ?
This was just one of several letters and documents which were supposed to have been sent to me by various Agencies and got lost in transit. Seemingly we are cursed with one of the most unreliable Postal Systems in the world. It worked the other way when letters I sent to the same Agency would disappear into the ether and I hadn’t received acknowledgement of receipt. Royal Mail had started to fail just after I started this case. Previously the only problem I had with the Post was, curiously, all bills would arrive with me on time and only cheques for me got lost !
The fate of Clerkin’s letter will feature soon in another post about the Police Ombudsman.
The next series of posts will concentrate on the good parts of the curate’s egg of the Police Ombudsman’s Office.