Monday 8 August 2016

Police investigation - where's it heading? - Updated

Updates, 13th August and 17th August at the end of this post

As I have mentioned, I was informed, via Mark James' solicitors at the beginning of April this year, that he had made an allegation of harassment against me to the police.

I was further informed, on the 12th July, following enquiries made with the Police Commissioner's office that an additional criminal allegation of perverting the course of justice had also been made against me, at some point, and that "officers are currently carrying out an investigative assessment of the complaint details".

Four and a half months have now passed since April and we are now heading towards the middle of August, and so far the police have made no contact with me at all.

That letter, from April, also informed me of Mr James' intention of taking me back to the High Court alleging a complaint of contempt of court. Again, I have heard nothing, so far.

I do not believe there were, or are, any grounds for criminal complaints, in fact I find it ludicrous and believe that the actions of the complainant(s), and the use of the police in this way amount to nothing more than intimidation. This has gone on long enough.

I have sent the following email, and a hard copy to follow, to the Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys Police this morning;

Simon Prince, Chief Constable
Dyfed-Powys Police

Dear Chief Constable, 
I am writing in connection with Dyfed-Powys Police’s investigation into allegations of harassment and perverting the course of justice, which it is suggested I committed between January 2009 and April 2016.  
Your investigation began in April, and I have received no information as to its progress. I am unaware of the precise nature of the complaints, although I presume they relate to comments made on my blog, ‘Carmarthenshire Planning Problems and more’ concerning the activities of Carmarthenshire County Council and of its Chief Executive. 
I do not consider that there are any grounds to investigate me for these alleged offences. It is furthermore my view that the investigation is not being conducted expeditiously.  
I would therefore be grateful if you would provide answers to the following: 
i) Are you actively seeking any further evidence in the investigation? 
ii) If you are seeking further evidence, when do you expect your investigation to be complete? 
iii) Do you intend to send a file to the Crown Prosecution Service? 
iv) If you do intend to send a file to the CPS, when do you expect to do so? 
Your investigation is having a chilling effect on my ability to report the activities of Carmarthenshire County Council. 
If you are in possession of any evidence capable of supporting a case in respect of either of the alleged offences, it should be passed promptly to the CPS so that a decision can be made as to whether it passes the evidential or public interest tests. Otherwise, please inform me without delay that there will be no further action in respect of these complaints. 
Yours Sincerely,
Jacqui Thompson


Update 13th August

Response received today from the Chief Constable;

* * * 
This week's Herald features this opinion piece which is relative to the police investigation, and well worth a read.

Update 17th August
I have been informed by the chief constable's PA, via email, that I will receive a "full response" to my letter in "six weeks' time".
Obviously the letter above was not a full response, so what exactly is going to take another six weeks is anyone's guess.


John Brace said...

Surely if the police saw any merit to what the public generally must regard as spurious allegations to punish you for not giving up blogging then they would've charged you by now?

If the police did get in touch with the CPS about this, and it is connected to your blog, then your article 10 right to freedom of expression would have to be considered, as well as the fact that a lot of what is on your blog is political speech which is very protected under current laws.

Finally the CPS would only agree for you to be charged if there was a realistic prospect of a conviction.

Anonymous said...

The CPS have to satisfy three criteria - public interest, public purse and a high percentage chance of winning a case. I cannot imagine even one of those is satisfied.

Anonymous said...

Presumably, if he thought he had a good case, he could take out a private prosecution? Doubtless the council would find some loophole in order to support the financial costs?

Anonymous said...

Anon @0943 - Don't give them ideas... CCC are mad enough to let him do it.

The original libel case was, in my opinion, a miscarriage of justice of monumental proportions. This criminal rubbish only confounds it.

The police have been asked, both directly and through the IPCC, how comes they are taking on this case when they recused themselves from the earlier investigation into Mark James because of their working relationship. That they have failed to provide an answer through either avenue is a cause for concern, and might lead one to question their integrity if this goes on much longer.

Anonymous said...

One for 'Private Eye' methinks...

Unknown said...

Your letter to the Chief Constable is a very modest response in the circumstances. If there are no grounds for the complaints against you then the lapse of time since the complaints were made is unacceptable. If there are grounds then the lapse of time would still be extremely difficult to justify. The whole thing is unsatisfactory. Given the context, a senior police officer should have taken charge of the matter and brought it to a swift conclusion. If it turns out that there is no substance to the complaints then culpability of the police, in its handling of the matter, and the culpability of Mark James, in initiating the complaint, should be considered. I would have thought that the least the Chief Constable should do is provide you with a swift and substantive reply to your letter. In its absence, or if the reply is unsatisfactory, then I feel a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission would be justified.

Redhead said...

I cannot imagine the toll this is taking on you physically, mentally and psychological. Surely, THAT is the REAL harrassment here.

Ken Haylock said...

Yes, it has to be worth a complaint to the IPCC if nohing shakes loose pronto. This is appalling, and I suspect that 'chilling effect' was the entire raison d'etre for the complaint. Either that, or somebody told the council something that differs from what you told the Herald and they would rather waste police time than deal with the consequences of that discrepancy now...

Anonymous said...

Complaints to the IPCC have been made - I should know, I made one! The response is that they are not willing to discuss a case involving a third party...

Unknown said...

I doubt you will receive a response from the Chief Constable himself as he may not even see your correspondence unless he reads your blog. I have sent to him in the past regarding the misconduct in public office of the CCC. No reply from him as it seems emails etc. addressed to him are filtered & passed to others to deal with. Still you may get a reply as you have actually published your email so look forward to seeing how Dyfed Powys Police (DPP) decide to handle the matter. For years the CCC & the DPP have acted hand in glove protecting each others backs; at least that's the impression I get from their past actions. It boils down to a public body unlawfully using the civil court to prevent your freedom of speech/expression. Now they wish, with the assistance of the police to continue their unlawful harassment of you in the hope of finally silencing you. I think the police need to look into who is actually harassing who.

caebrwyn said...

I have had an acknowledgement from the chief constable's PA today. I am aware of the close working relationship between Dyfed Powys Police and the council and that matter has, I believe, been raised. However, as for any further implications regarding that relationship I am, at the moment, keeping an open mind.

Unknown said...

I'm glad to hear you've had an acknowledgement from his PA at least so he would have seen it most likely. This is more hopeful than Mark James' lack of acknowledgment to my email to him in 2011 when I complained to him as a Whistleblower that disclosures had not been handled properly by POVA and the Statutory Social Services Complaints Officer was unwilling to look into the ongoing complaint. I was following the CCC's Whistleblowing policy by contacting him yet he did nothing except ask the Corporate Complaints Officer to look into what my emails were about. She passed misinformation to him(maybe unintentionally as information which should have been in my personnel file was not in it) of which I was unaware and could have questioned had he responded to me. This is what happens complainants and whistleblowers are left in limbo believing that maybe something constructive is going on in the background only to find out later meetings are being held concerning the need to silence the dissenter and not in looking into the concerns.

Redhead said...

His PA? And how much is he or she paid to do the Chief Constable's job I wonder and does his/her answer come from the CC or is it simply an unqualified opinion? Is your local MP involved or is that a waste of your time?

caebrwyn said...

As I said, it was just an acknowledgement of my correspondence, there was no actual response to the queries. If there is, then hopefully it would be determined by the chief constable and not his PA...
My MP, and AM, who are both Plaid Cymru were also copied into this email and have received a hard copies by post...and anyway, I believe they are already aware of the situation.
I have yet to hear a word from either of them.

Cllr Sian Caiach said...

Reminds me of the time that Mr James answered my complaint about my emails being monitored by announcing in full council that my allegation may well lead to formal complaint against me by the IT officer who had signed the form giving the results of the monitoring of a particular email trail from my County council email.
Making that statement before all the council, suggesting I had done something wrong, is just the way he works. I agree Jacqui, that the likelihood of the police investigating on criminal grounds is low, but, as Mr James is aware, the threat will cause you stress and anxiety until you can be reassured that further action is not being taken. Standard operating procedure I'm afraid and one might expect approved by Mr James' sympathetic and supportive employer, Council leader Emlyn Dole?

Redhead said...

And this is all your over-stretched police force can think of?

Anonymous said...

The opinion piece in the Herald makes the point:
‘The complainant in the case is Mark James CBE, Chief Executive of the local authority. In 2014 Mark James was himself investigated by the Police. When handed that investigation, officers in the Dyfed-Powys force dropped it like a primed grenade into Gloucester Constabulary’s lap, and scarpered. “Due to the close working relationships and partnership arrangements that existed between Dyfed-Powys Police and Carmarthenshire Council,” a spokesman explained, it was “not appropriate for the local force to carry out the enquiry.”’

So has the nature of these “close working relationships” changed over past two years? – I very much doubt it. CCC(led by Plaid) collects the policing precept which is set by the Dafydd Llywelyn, the Police and Crime Commissioner(Plaid). He holds the Dyfed-Powys police to account and is in turn scrutinised by the Police and Crime Panel – three members of which are members of CCC.

See Mr James rubbing shoulders with the Chief Constable after this year’s annual meeting of CCC -

It appears that Jac o’ the north has already drawn his own conclusion -

Anonymous said...

Update 17th August, "so what exactly is going to take another six weeks is anyone's guess"
- Literally 'PC Plod'

Anonymous said...

Reading your blog to ascertain whether or not you have harassed Mr.James or perverted the course of shoud not take six months. It is laughable. How long would it take them to investigate something as complex as fraud or something similar. Something isn't adding up.