Initial statement from the 4 Orkney petitioners.

 

More to come later!!!

 

IMG_0186The case has been lost on the slimmest of legal technicalities. It is more of a loss for Alistair Carmichael than a win. To appreciate the true tenor of the judgement the full transcript should be read. The petitioners have won 2 out of the 3 points. In the judges words the following are the true reflection of the case. We are disappointed but see the win as caveated by damning comments on Mr Carmichael’s behaviour by the judges Our bold type and highlights For completeness the judges say say ‘(b) Whether the first respondent made the false statement of fact for the purpose of affecting his return at the election [61] On this issue, we are satisfied that it has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the first respondent made the false statement of fact for the purpose of affecting (positively) his own return at the election. We have reached that view for two reasons. [_6_3_]_ _A_s_ _t_h_e_ _f_i_r_s_t_ _r_e_s_p_o_n_d_e_n_t_ _s_a_i_d_ _i_n_ _e_v_i_d_e_n_c_e_,_ _h_e_ _w_a_n_t_e_d_ _p_u_b_l_i_c_ _a_t_t_e_n_t_i_o_n_ _t_o_ _r_e_m_a_i_n_ _f_o_c_u_s_e_d_ _o_n_ _t_h_a_t_ _i_m_p_o_r_t_a_n_t_ _p_o_l_i_t_i_c_a_l_ _m_e_s_s_a_g_e_,_ _r_a_t_h_e_r_ _t_h_a_n_ _b_e_c_o_m_i_n_g_ _s_i_d_e_-_t_r_a_c_k_e_d_ _b_y_ _r_e_v_e_l_a_t_i_o_n_s_ _t_h_a_t_ _i_t_ _h_a_d_ _b_e_e_n_ _h_e_ _a_n_d_ _h_i_s_ _s_p_e_c_i_a_l_ _a_d_v_i_s_e_r_ _M_r_ _R_o_d_d_i_n_ _w_h_o_ _h_a_d_ _l_e_a_k_e_d_ _t_h_e_ _m_e_m_o_ _t_o_ _t_h_e_ _D_a_i_l_y_ _T_e_l_e_g_r_a_p_h_._ _I_n_ _h_i_s_ _v_i_e_w_,_ _i_f_ _p_u_b_l_i_c_ _a_t_t_e_n_t_i_o_n_ _r_e_m_a_i_n_e_d_ _f_o_c_u_s_e_d_ _o_n_ _t_h_a_t_ _p_o_l_i_t_i_c_a_l_ _m_e_s_s_a_g_e_,_ _v_o_t_e_r_s_ _w_h_o_ _h_a_d_ _a_n_x_i_e_t_i_e_s_ _a_b_o_u_t_ _S_c_o_t_t_i_s_h_ _i_n_d_e_p_e_n_d_e_n_c_e_ _m_i_g_h_t_ _f_i_n_d_ _v_o_t_i_n_g_ _f_o_r_ _t_h_e_ _2_2_ _ S_N_P_ _a_ _l_e_s_s_ _a_t_t_r_a_c_t_i_v_e_ _p_r_o_s_p_e_c_t_._ _T_h_e_ _i_n_e_s_c_a_p_a_b_l_e_ _i_n_f_e_r_e_n_c_e_,_ _i_n_ _o_u_r_ _o_p_i_n_i_o_n_,_ _i_s_ _t_h_a_t_ _i_f_ _t_h_e_ _S_N_P_ _b_e_c_a_m_e_ _a_ _l_e_s_s_ _a_t_t_r_a_c_t_i_v_e_ _p_r_o_s_p_e_c_t_,_ _t_h_e_ _f_i_r_s_t_ _r_e_s_p_o_n_d_e_n_t_’s_ _c_h_a_n_c_e_s_ _o_f_ _a_ _c_o_m_f_o_r_t_a_b_l_e_ _m_a_j_o_r_i_t_y_ _i_n_ _w_h_a_t_ _h_a_d_ _b_e_c_o_m_e_ _a_ _“t_w_o_-_h_o_r_s_e_ _r_a_c_e_” _i_n_ _O_r_k_n_e_y_ _a_n_d_ _S_h_e_t_l_a_n_d_ _w_o_u_l_d_ _b_e_ _e_n_h_a_n_c_e_d_._ _ [64] Thus we are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the false statement of fact was made for the purpose of affecting (positively) the return of the first respondent as a Liberal Democrat in the constituency of Orkney and Shetland. Thus on the basis of all the evidence led before us we are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that another purpose underlying the false statement was self-protection (a self-protection extending to Mr Roddin, provided that neither of them could be identified). Such self-protection would avoid attracting critical comment, losing esteem in the public eye, and being the subject of any disciplinary consequences, all at a very inconvenient time during the lead-up to the election. Such self-protection would avoid his presenting as a less attractive electoral candidate for the voters in Orkney and Shetland. For this reason also, we consider that the first respondent made the false statement “for the purpose of affecting [his] return … at the election”. T_h_e_ _f_i_r_s_t_ _r_e_s_p_o_n_d_e_n_t_’s_ _r_e_s_p_o_n_s_e_ _t_o_ _t_h_e_ _C_a_b_i_n_e_t_ _O_f_f_i_c_e_ _i_n_q_u_i_r_y_ _ [66] As noted in paragraph [10] above, the line of evidence relating to the first respondent’s response to the Cabinet Office inquiry was objected to. Evidence on that matter was allowed subject to competency and relevancy. While it is not strictly necessary for us to rule on the matter, again we do so for completeness. [67] We consider that senior counsel for the petitioners was entitled to explore the first respondent’s response to the Cabinet Office inquiry, despite the lack of detailed averments on that matter, for two reasons. First, it was a matter peculiarly within the knowledge of the first respondent. The petitioners had no way of discovering, prior to the court hearing, the details which emerged during evidence. The inquiry was confidential. Only the ultimate findings were For this reason also, we consider that the first respondent made the false statement “for the purpose of affecting [his] return … at the election”. [66] T_h_e_ _f_i_r_s_t_ _r_e_s_p_o_n_d_e_n_t_’s_ _r_e_s_p_o_n_s_e_ _t_o_ _t_h_e_ _C_a_b_i_n_e_t_ _O_f_f_i_c_e_ _i_n_q_u_i_r_y_ _ [66] As noted in paragraph [10] above, the line of evidence relating to the first respondent’s response to the Cabinet Office inquiry was objected to. Evidence on that matter was allowed subject to competency and relevancy. While it is not strictly necessary for us to rule on the matter, again we do so for completeness. [ April 2015. There were four fairly general questions. Two questions which he could recall were along the lines of whether he had received the memo, and if so, what had he done with 25 68] The relevant evidence demonstrated, in our view, that the first respondent’s role in and response to the inquiry were unimpressive. The first respondent stated in evidence that he had agreed at the outset of the inquiry that “ministers and special advisers would co-operate with the inquiry” (transcript 10 November 2015 page 21). Yet in our opinion his evidence relating to the questionnaire issued by the inquiry demonstrated a lack of candour and co-operation on his part. As he explained, he received the questionnaire on or about 12 April 2015. There were four fairly general questions. Two questions which he could recall were along the lines of whether he had received the memo, and if so, what had he done with it. The first respondent said that he felt entitled to answer the first question in the negative, as he had never physically received or seen the memo. As a result, he considered that the second question became “largely redundant” (transcript 9 November 2015 page 75). He commented that answers depended on the questions asked, and that the choice of question was for those conducting the inquiry. By adopting this approach, he “thought that it might have been possible to avoid the whole truth”. He acknowledged that he had answered the questionnaire “less than fully truthfully” (transcript 9 November 2015 page 68). We are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that it was only after Mr Roddin was identified by means of telephone records as the person who leaked the memo to the Daily Telegraph, and only when the first respondent was interviewed face-to-face on Tuesday 12 May 2015 (some five days after the election), that the first respondent admitted his involvement in the leak. It is our opinion that his failure to be straightforward and candid with the inquiry resulted from his hope that he would not be identified as being involved in the leak – preferably not identified at all, but at least not identified until after the election on 7 May 2015, as otherwise his chances of electoral success might be prejudicially affected. [70] On the evidence, the subsequent revelation of what could be seen as a deliberate “cover-up” by the first respondent very much enhanced the shock, outrage and upset felt by his constituents when the inquiry published its results on 22 May 2015, a fortnight after the election. We refer to the comments of the third petitioner and the Independent Highlands and Islands MSP, quoted in paragraphs [37] and [38] above. Ultimately however the first respondent’s unimpressive response to the inquiry, although showing him in a bad light, and resulting in his constituents being initially misled and then justifiably shocked and dismayed on discovering that they had been so misled, cannot alter our conclusion that section 106 does not, on a proper application of the law to the facts proved, apply in this case. Ends

4 thoughts on “Initial statement from the 4 Orkney petitioners.

  1. Steve Bowers December 9, 2015 / 12:56 pm

    Bad luck guys, it was the right thing for you guys to do, I’ve chipped in again, good luck with getting the rest of the money, we’re all behind you.

    Like

  2. Ernest Skea December 9, 2015 / 1:04 pm

    very, very sad.

    ________________________________

    Like

  3. June Stewart December 9, 2015 / 3:37 pm

    Curtesy of Paul Kavanagh: I personally am stunned by this result and almost lost for words.

    “The brave Orkney Four deserve our support. They now face the cost of the legal action for daring to believe that Carmichael should be held to the standards of common decency and truth. Donate generously.”

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-people-versus-carmichael#/

    Like

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