The Vaughan v London Borough of Lewisham High Court defamation case details my allegations of corruption, bullying, discrimination and includes references to my 40 hour covert recordings evidence.
The ‘Plebgate’ row involving the former MP Andrew Mitchell and the Met Police, demonstrates the increasing need for individuals to resort to covertly recording conversations in order to protect themselves and expose injustice, in circumstances where they would otherwise be ‘stitched up’ and ‘hung out to dry’.
This is why, (as a precautionary measure), I made 40 hours of covert recordings of my interactions with Lewisham Council’s managers.
You may be wondering what the circumstances are which led to all of this? Well….
In this case there was pre-existing ill-will and animosity from Lewisham Council and its managers towards me and therefore some tangible benefit to them from defaming me. It is clear that they knew that their statements were slanderous and libellous because:
- On 17 February 2012, I contacted Barry Quirk (Chief Executive) and Frankie Sulke, (Executive Director) to advise them of this. I also sent them proof.
During Lewisham Council’s internal hearing on 27 February 2012 I also advised:
- Ralph Wilkinson, (Lewisham Council’s head of Public Services)- who was the appointed Hearing Officer;
- Christine Grice, (Lewisham Council’s former Head of Access and Support)- who was the person who suspended me, investigated me and recommended my dismissal, and
- Elaine Hattam: (Lewisham Council’s HR officer).
So there was no reason for the Defendants’ to believe that I wouldn’t bring defamation proceedings.
Why was there pre-existing ill-will and animosity from Lewisham Council and its managers towards me?
View the ‘Timeline‘ to see the overview of the events which took place prior to my transfer to Lewisham Council here. It gives more detail about the following facts:
On 1 April 2011 my employment transferred to Lewisham Council. I had outstanding tribunal claims against the employer I was transferring from (Babcock), and so legally Lewisham Council also had to accept liability for these claims, despite the fact that the claims did not involve Lewisham Council or any of its staff.
I guess this isn’t the best way to start off a relationship with a new employer, but obviously this state of affairs was beyond my control. However, I guess they didn’t quite see it that way!
It is more than coincidence that the decision to suspend me from duty, conduct an investigation on me, make the defamatory statements about me and then dismiss me, was made after:
I had transferred to Lewisham Council with pre-existing tribunal claims;
I had made requests for ‘reasonable adjustments’ at work in order to support me with my medical condition/disability (depression);
I had alleged that the Defendants’ had contravened the Equality Act 2010, PIDA 1998 and Human Rights Act 1998;
I had made protected disclosures (‘whistleblew’);
I had alleged that the Defendants’ had breached their own code of conduct;
The Defendants’ had reason to believe or suspect that I had or intended to bring further legal proceedings (the day before the decision was taken to suspend me from work I had lodged my first Tribunal claim against Lewisham Council, because of the above issues);
I had lodged complaints/grievances against Lewisham Council’s managers, Christine Grice, Elaine Smith and Valerie Gonsalves and issued legal proceedings against them;
I had issued further legal proceedings against Lewisham Council and its managers; and
I had given evidence against Lewisham Council at the Tribunal, on behalf of my former colleagues who had been unfairly dismissed.
The mindset and attitude of the Defendants is clear.
I told the High Court that Christine Grice played a key role in coordinating the defamation and that the other Defendants’:
- Ralph Wilkinson
- Elaine Smith
- Valerie Gonsalves
- Kate Parsley
- Elaine Hattam
were an integral part in a process that involved making the false, malicious, spiteful, damaging, hurtful and unfounded defamatory statements against me with a view to bullying me out of the council, destroying my reputation and career and causing severe damage to my health.
I believe that the Defendants’ manipulated and engineered the situation leading to my suspension and subsequent dismissal, and the individuals more senior to them ignored evidence that the allegations against me were unprovable.
I told the Court that the Defendants’ abused their internal process for the purpose of relaying untrue defamatory statements about me which were motivated by malice.
I believe that the Defendants’ adopted a monstrous strategy against me with such enthusiasm knowing precisely why it was that the strategy had been put in place.
This is, in my view, probable therefore that the Defendants’ were influenced by issues relating to my disability, protected disclosures and the fact that I had lodged complaints/grievances, had brought legal proceedings against the Defendants’ and given evidence against them.
I had previously made complaints and taken legal action against the manager who then appointed herself to investigate me
I advised the Court that Christine Grice knew that it was not appropriate for her to be carrying out Lewisham Council’s investigation because of the fact that I had previously made complaints about her and had started legal proceedings against her.
I explained to the Court that she and the other Defendants’ had a predetermined plan to defame me and ‘get rid’ of me and that they were not going to be diverted from this plan.
Lewisham Council effectively permitted the investigator of the allegations against me (Christine Grice) and the hearing officer (Ralph Wilkinson) to also become witnesses and prosecutors.
Christine Grice also only interviewed managers, (two of whom I had previously made complaints about and brought legal proceedings against). There is clear evidence of malice.
It is clear that the Defendants’ went too far during Lewisham Council’s internal process and that there was no occasion to endorse, in any degree at all, the allegations made against me, which the Defendants’ failed to verify.
The Defendants’ were not defending themselves at all.
I told the Court that they were complicit in a plot to fabricate the allegations against me.
Lewisham Council’s process went into entirely irrelevant and unfounded allegations, for example, false allegations of poor work output, which had not been put to me before the hearing took place.
The Defendants’ knew that what they wrote and said about me was false and they didn’t care whether it was true or false.
The Defendants’ had in their possession material, which they knew to be wholly implausible and false and those making the defamatory allegations knew them to be untrue.
They made the whole thing up.
They tried to conceal their own behaviour, (which I claimed was misconduct and discriminatory).
They also tried to cover-up systemic issues within the Council: (see more details about the systemic issues and the concerns that I and my colleagues raised here)