We have met twice over the past two years and conducted discussions amicably on topics connected with your role as Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire and the City of York.
Particularly, related to the oversight of the Chief Constable that forms one of the three core strands of responsibility of a Police Commissioner. The other two being, of course, firstly, setting a budget and, secondly, agreeing a Policing Plan with the force.
I write to you in connection with the recently concluded Operation Hyson, and its predecessor investigation, Operation Rome, which engages two of those key strands, oversight and budget, and remind you that the ground upon which you persistently stonewalled any previous questions – ‘it may prejudice an on-going legal case’ – has now fallen away.
The following public interest questions, therefore, are now put to you in open letter and you are most cordially invited to respond in the same manner.
- When you were elected in November 2012, were you made aware by the Chief Constable of the attempts by North Yorkshire Police to silence two citizen journalists via criminal prosecution by way of Operation Rome?
- Did you know that one of the two journalists, Nigel Ward, was not contacted by police, even once, during a two-year investigation into the allegations of harassment?
- Will you please publish the Operation Rome investigation report (suitably redacted to protect personal information) in the interests of openness and transparency?
- Who was the driving force within NYP for those failed prosecution attempts?
- Was that same officer the lead for converting an inept and, ultimately, failed criminal investigation into a publicly-funded civil court claim?
- Did you ever read the pleadings in the civil court case and satisfy yourself that the inclusion of Nigel Ward in the claim was merited on the evidence?
- I have asked you repeatedly if you had read the papers but you claimed it would prejudice the case if you answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Do you stand by that as a credible rationale, bearing in mind this was a civil court claim heard before a single (very senior) judge?
- Eight claimants, including CC Jones, DCC Madgwick, C/Supt (now ACC) Winward, held Mr Ward in the claim until only one month before the trial despite having no evidence, whatsoever, against him. Will you be holding CC Jones to account over this conduct and, particularly, the grotesque waste of public money as once costs issues are resolved – either between the parties or by the court – it is very likely to mean a further significant drain on police funds?
- Whilst the matter of costs is also still extant in the case of the ninth claimant, your long term political ally Jane Kenyon-Miller, these are likely to be very substantial – and another scandalous waste of public money. Will you also be holding the Chief Constable (or Acting Chief Constable as the case may be) to account over the decision to take the matter to a final hearing on 26th July, 2016 (from which I reported), against the judge’s specific advice at an earlier hearing on 7th July, 2016 (at which I was also present) for both parties to seek a compromised settlement?
- Will you be holding the Chief Constable to account over the fact that he was funding no less than seven lawyers, including a QC, to be present at the final hearing (albeit two of those were trainee solicitors) representing Jane Kenyon-Miller, a member of the public, in what was, after all, an uncomplicated County Court claim between two members of the public?
- Please explain your rationale for continuing to sanction the Acting Chief Constable’s public funding of Mrs Kenyon-Miller, an independently wealthy individual, in her claim against Mr Ward, a penniless pensioner, after the other eight Operation Hyson claimants (including the Acting Chief Constable himself) had, belatedly, discontinued their claims?
- Please also explain your rationale for sanctioning the spending by A/CC Madgwick of what may well be around £20,000 of public money on a failed, largely misconceived application hearing held on 7th July, 2016 at which (i) permission was sought to access emails and text messages of Mr Ward and myself (ii) criminalise myself and Mr Ward over alleged contempt of court?
- Will you be holding Acting Chief Constable Madgwick fully to account over the false evidence he gave in his witness statement in the civil claim – and the manner in which he conducted himself when publicly challenged over some of it?
- Will you be holding your own employee, Temporary Force Solicitor Jane Wintermeyer, similarly to account over why significant parts of her witness evidence concerning Mr Ward were palpably false, the rest of it concerning Mr Ward of little apparent evidential value?
- Finally, will you be holding the Chief Constable to account over the smears he caused to be published against Mr Ward in local and regional newspapers suggesting that he – in concert with the two other defendants – persistently harassed ALL nine of the claimants in a most unpleasant manner? The finding of the court is that he has not harassed ANY of the claimants.
I look forward to your response.
Page last updated: Saturday 30th July, 2016 at 1015hrs
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