June 25, 2007

Crown Prosecution Service Squashes Witness Intimidation Case Against Kingston University

The Criminal Witness Intimidation case against Donald Beaton, University Secretary, and Peter Scott, Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University has been squashed by the Crown Prosecution Service, after taking over the case from the alleged victims, who had originally launched a private prosecution before the Court in April 2007.

On June 22 in a hearing before the Richmond Magistrates' Court, charges were formally dropped by the CPS against the defendants on the grounds that Witness Intimidation, when it takes place against witnesses in an Employment Tribunal is, in effect, perfectly legal. According to the CPS, Employment Tribunal's do not constitute "relevant proceedings" under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, and therefore, there is insufficient evidence of a crime having been committed.

According to the alleged victims and their solicitor, who is also an alleged victim, Mr Beaton wrote a series of at least five threatening and intimidating letters between January and March of 2007 in response to having been informed that one of the victims had recorded her husband's internal grievance proceeding held before a panel of Board of Governors, and that this recording revealed that the panel had allegedly engaged in improper and unfair discussions with the Vice-Chancellor during a break in the proceedings, thereby suggesting that the process was not being carried out fairly and impartially.

According to the alleged victims, additional evidence has since emerged that suggests that the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Peter Scott was aware of and/or ordered Mr Beaton to write the allegedly threatening and intimidating letters in order to avoid embarassment. According to the alleged victims, Mr Beaton ordered them to turn over all existing copies of the recordings and transcripts thereof, not merely a single copy, thereby raising the question as to why this was done. Was it because the University wanted to suppress this evidence from coming to light during an ongoing Employment Tribunal proceeding?

Why is it that the CPS decided to squash this criminal case rather than allowing it to go before a Court for a full hearing on its merits as a private prosecution by the alleged victims? After all, a panel of three Magistrates apparently felt that there was enough evidence to issue an indictment of Mr Beaton on 20 April 2007, didn't they?

If this decision by the CPS is allowed to stand, will it become, in effect, perfectly legal to intimidate witnesses in Employment Tribunal proceedings? Could that have REALLY been the intention of Parliament when it passed the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001? And did the CPS then hold the view that Witness Intimidation, when it occurs in an Employment Tribunal, is and should be considered to be, in effect, perfectly legal?

For further details on this unusual groundbreaking case, visit the website:


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The attempts at silencing witnesses and preventing damaging evidence from seeing the light of day continues.

Today, 8 November 2007 at the London South Employment Tribunal, Kingston University's barrister succesfully blocked the introduction of witness testimony and supporting documentary evidence by former Kingston staff member, Ms Lori Fredrics in the case brought by another unnamed staff member for victimization, after she had raised a grievance.

How many more cases will have to be brought against Kingston University before the truth emerges?

Will the University continue to try to silence witnesses with damaging evidence to bring forth?

Or will the light of day shine on the current case before the Tribunal to prevent further abuses of the principles of natural justice?

In this case, the claimant brought zero witnesses, while the University will parade a host of bureaucrats with titles before their name, including Sir Peter Scott. Yet the when the claimant wanted to introduce just one witness, she was denied that basic right.

What is the University afraid would happen if one little witness were to read a short 1pg statement?