This entry was posted on
Saturday, May 14th, 2011 at
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MAJOR UPDATE (22 Nov 2011) – Nadine Dorries misled police in her complaint against four alleged ‘stalkers’. Here’s the evidence and here’s a summary of revelations to date. Next up: evidence that Dorries lied about the outcome of the investigation she prompted in the desperate hope it would disguise her lies about an investigation that never took place.
Today I had a meeting with Bedfordshire Police. They informed me that under caution and recorded on tape at Guldford Police station, Tim Ireland, of bloggerheads, has been issued with a warning under section two of the harassment act.
Nadine Dorries (source)
This is Dorries’ way of saying the investigation following her belated complaint to Bedfordshire Police has closed without action. There was nothing in it; she was thrown a bone that offers only some reassurance that I have agreed not to act in a way that I have never acted before, and that’s all. I doubt that Dorries actually needs this reassurance, especially when she so clearly intends to use it to continue her attempts to smear me (because nothing makes more sense than poking your alleged stalker with a stick).
At one stage, I was given advice from police about the wisdom of attending any future events with the intention of trying to get close to Nadine Dorries, but it would be wrong to assume or imply that I ever held such creepy intentions in the first place, and it would be dishonest to pretend that the investigation closed with police establishing any inappropriate behaviour on my part; this conversation that Dorries clings to took place before I was able to produce evidence supporting my contention that (a) I had been invited to a public meeting, and (b) secured permission to both film *and* broadcast, and it should be appreciated in that context.
Police cannot dispute that I was there at that meeting with permission from organisers, and even granted leave to stay by the majority of those attending after Dorries made her first entirely false accusation about stalking. I was only asked to stop what I was doing after a further false allegation about my not informing organisers of the broadcast (see below). Even any potential breach of the peace was mainly the result of Dorries going off on one, and she can’t produce a scrap of evidence to support the circular argument behind her outburst.
Police may have had more cause to speak to me about inappropriate behaviour if I had behaved in a way that was inappropriate. As it was, the conversation/point focused a lot on how my past/future actions might be construed by some, and police had so little to support even this line of argument that the relevant shortlist of accusers and critics included Dominic Wightman.
Dorries’ claim that I had lied to organisers about my intentions was one of the main reasons why police had initial concerns about my presence at Flitwick, but the truth was that I had gone out of my way to secure permission and be clear about my intentions. In fact, I was not only able to produce emails backing this up, but also (surprise evidence!) audio of my explaining it to the Chair and getting her approval prior to broadcast! The broadcast webcam was online with ustream.tv’s server before the event went live to the public, and it was recording at the time… so while the audio is extremely muddy, a camera did capture a crucial conversation with the Chair of the Flitwick event, including the part where I explain to her that “I’m just about to start broadcasting”.
Police were furnished with this audio, along with all other unedited footage of the event from my main camera, plus my every email communication with Dorries and/or her office for good measure. Dorries claims to have received hundreds of “vile and abusive” messages from me, but nothing like this turned up during the investigation that I’m aware of, and Dorries has so far refused to honour a legitimate DPA request from me that would require her to (at least) provide a copy of every email and letter sent to her in my name. Did she make this detail up, or was she merely mistaken? Dorries isn’t saying; she is instead implying that this investigation supports her argument, when it does nothing of the sort. No evidence has emerged of my behaving in the way that Dorries has described and implied; not at the Flitwick event, not before the Flitwick event, and not after the Flitwick event.
Since this investigation began, Dorries has been repeatedly leaking incorrect and distorted versions of privileged information in an attempt to politicise it. The antics included an entirely false claim that I was arrested that Dorries (the source if not the author) has yet to explain or apologise for. Dorries’ presentation of this conversation with police during a voluntary interview as if it supports anything she has alleged about me is no different.
Bedfordshire Police recognise that the public have a right to go to public meetings, and should be free to conduct filming and broadcasts when they’ve got permission from organisers. If Dorries could support her claim that I had actually stalked her or anyone else previous to this event, I can see where police might have the beginnings of a case, but Dorries offers no evidence to support this contention. None.
Further, previous to this complaint, Nadine Dorries claimed a police investigation was already in progress. At Flitwick, she specifically declared that I was already a notorious stalker (i.e. with a string of victims and a ‘police aware’ sticker on my forehead). When challenged to back this hysterical if not calculated cycle of bullshit with evidence, instead of producing a crime reference number as she promised to, Dorries sought to generate one.
She didn’t even get that far; no crime reference number was assigned to this investigation. Even when operating on the basis of what Dorries claimed about the Flitwick event, police took the position that “no crime (was) involved”.
Dorries (a lawmaker) has yet to explain why she made then maintained an entirely false, damaging and downright dangerous claim about a police investigation that never took place.
Dorries has also failed to produce any evidence to support her claim that she has been genuinely, physically stalked and subsequently advised by police to lie about her whereabouts on her website (i.e. the desperate claim she clung to in the wake of the disastrous “70% fiction” admission).
Given the shrill and indiscreet manner in which Dorries has conducted herself during this investigation, I seriously doubt that any other investigation has taken place without us knowing about it, and if my actions were likely to cause Dorries distress because of anyone else acting in the way she describes, I am confident that police would have brought that up at the stage when they were expressing concern about my turning up to a public meeting that I was invited to.
Besides, Dorries has repeatedly claimed/implied that it was *me* who was such a concern to police that they advised her to disguise her movements, and Bedfordshire Police made no mention of any evidence or allegation about my behaving in this way toward anyone, and no other police force in the land has been in touch in TWO YEARS since these dastardly (if vaguely defined ) deeds were allegedly done.
Further, it cannot be stressed enough that Dorries needs a time machine for this latest deception to hold. She claims she was advised by police to lie about where she lived because someone was taking an unhealthy interest in her movements. The Flitwick event happened almost a year after she claims to have been given this advice. Where is the evidence of the events she claims led to this police advice? Where is the confirmation from police that they issued the advice she spoke of?
Dorries is making most of this stuff up, if not all of it. She cannot produce any evidence of my harassing her electronically, and she cannot produce any evidence of my stalking her physically. If by some miracle she turns out to have a genuine stalker (she claims there are four), there is no sign of there ever being an investigation into any of it, and Dorries has no business pretending it’s anything to do with me in any case.
UPDATE (15 May) – To be clear: I wish to bring you the actual position of police, not the interpretation by Dorries or even an interpretation by me. This warning that Dorries pretends is the end result of the investigation was not given in response to anything she has claimed about physical or electronic stalking; none of that is true, and I am greatly disappointed that police have allowed for confusion on this front, especially considering their awareness of Dorries’ behaviour prior to this.
Police said what they did in light of Dorries’ complaint about the Flitwick event specifically. I have asked them for their position in writing. I would also like to see a copy of Nadine’s original complaint if she would care to publish it.
If Dorries wants to declare that police gave me a warning in response to her complaint, I would really much rather that she specified what that complaint was, rather than pretend it is for hundreds of “vile and abusive” emails that never existed, or physical stalking that never took place. Dorries being what she is, I expect she will instead pretend that all she alleges stands unchallenged if not confirmed.
UPDATE (16 May, 10am) – I have been in contact with Bedfordshire police. They have agreed to put their position in writing and plan to do so later today. I will say more when they have done so. In the interim, to avoid any confusion throughout the day:
We are in a situation where Dorries is (once again) the source of damaging inaccuracies. No caution has been issued against me, and police have seen no evidence of my stalking or even harassing Nadine Dorries.
She implies otherwise, but Dorries’ complaint to police amounts ONLY to a complaint about my presence at the Flitwick event.
As I understand it, that she has made a complaint makes any further attempt to be in the same room as her a potential offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.* It was a warning about any future attempt to be in her presence, and it was and is entirely surplus to requirements. Nadine’s mate Iain Dale running a ‘Tim Ireland warned under Harassment law’ headline in response to what she had claimed in recent months is entirely misleading in that gives a false summary of events.; it implies that I was given a warning in response to allegations she still cannot substantiate. A technicality under law involving potential acts I am unlikely to commit in the future should not be used to imply (as Dorries has) that it is a judgement on my conduct at Flitwick, or generally, or that I have any history of behaving like this… because the single event that made the complaint possible involved my being invited to a public meeting, and arranging to record and broadcast that meeting in good faith.
I’ll be out with more later, when police have issued their position in writing and Dorries and her mates have had a chance to issue a proper retraction. If they do, it’ll be a first. But I’ll wait all the same.
UPDATE (16 May 1:45pm) – The letter from police is here. The full text from the body of the letter appears below:
I write to inform you that the harassment complaint made against you by Nadine Dorries, MP, on 12th July 2010 is now concluded.
This was in relation to you attending the Flitwick Hall Hustings, Bedfordshire on 4th May 2010, knowing that Nadine Dorries was in attendance. As advised, others could construe this type of behaviour as harassment or stalking. There is no action against you concerning this matter, apart from the verbal warning given by me to you during the Voluntary Interview in January 2011.
Nadine Dorries has been informed of this result.
The above Non Crime Report has been generated today, Monday 16th May 2011, as the paperwork for this complaint now needs to be referenced and filed.
There is the risk of quote-mining that concerns me, but I can say with confidence that the warning mentioned in this letter amounts only to the officer’s duty under law to advise me of the potential consequences of being in the same room as Dorries at a further event in light of the fact that a complaint was made about the first. I can also say without fear of contradicting the police or distorting their position that it is not a judgement on my conduct at that event or in any other respect, because it is not a warning about any past behaviour, much less any pattern of behaviour. Police do not themselves regard my actions to date to be harassment or stalking, but they would not be doing their jobs if they did not advise me of the risks of being in Dorries presence once a formal complaint has been made, because it is from the moment that a second event takes place that the law might apply.
It is entirely unacceptable to pretend that this warning is the main outcome of an investigation into Dorries’ wider/wilder allegations, a formal caution or variation of same, or any kind of recognition under law supporting anything Dorries has alleged.
It would also be wrong to assign any significance to the matter being filed, as it was filed by my request, in the hope that this measure would reduce the potential for distortion of the outcome.
This investigation has done nothing to support anything Dorries has claimed about being stalked. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Back soon with more on that front.
UPDATE – Nadine Dorries : extending the hand of hopefulness
UPDATE – *This was not the case at all. The “warning” issued by police carries a legal weight of zero. It amounted to informal advice, and that’s all. It is regrettable that when pressed for specifics, Bedfordshire Police failed to be clear on this crucial point, especially when people who seek to exploit the situation continue to base some quite damaging headlines/claims on continued misuse of the word ‘warning’ (e.g. Iain Dale, who refuses to amend his claim that I was “issued with a harassment warning”, when he knows this is not true).
UPDATE – I patiently dug around for evidence, as is my habit. Find out the truth about the substance of Nadine Dorries’ complaint against me. I committed no criminal act; even Dorries’ own lawyers agree on this.
By @Pam_nAshes May 14, 2011 - 10:25 am
Just one question, that merely requires a 'Yes' or 'No' answer – have you been issued with a warning under Section two of the Harassment Act?
By Tim_Ireland May 14, 2011 - 10:55 am
From the moment Dorries complained to police about my presence at the Flitwick event, my presence at a second such event became a potential issue under that Act. That she pretends it establishes anything about my conduct is an entirely circular argument. I could issue anyone with a specific warning to discontinue direct contact (by physical or electronic means), and the Act would apply to them in the same way. Pretending as you do that it comes down to a yes or no answer to this question risks vastly overstating the significance of advice given following a series of allegations from Dorries that were later disproved with hard evidence.
(And after the way you've conducted yourself in all this, count yourself lucky that I've done you the courtesy of publishing your comment at all. Please don't bother again.)
By @Akheloios May 14, 2011 - 12:07 pm
Would you answer this question Pam? it also merely requires a 'Yes ' or 'No' answer – Have you stopped beating your parter?
'Yes' or 'No' questions are only asked to deliberately muddly complicated issues that require far more explanation than a simple answer. Often, as the silly question I used above illustrates, often only lead to an answer that unfairly implicates the questioned no matter what the issue at hand is or the what the facts truely are.
Nadine Dorries has yet to provide any evidence of any wrongdoing whatsoever, and Tim has made the facts clear on many occasions. Your question is not only argumentive, but also of a trick of school yard level debate.
By Liam Murray May 15, 2011 - 9:37 pm
Pam's question is direct, makes no secondary or tertiary assumptions and is asking for confirmation of something which can be objectively verified. Answering it may well be wholly inadequate in terms of understanding the whole situation but she makes to such claim for it.
Your example question is built on pre-existing assumptions and subjective judgement.
They are not comparable.
By Denny May 16, 2011 - 1:10 pm
Pam's question does carry the implication that such a warning means anything more than "we have received a complaint about you and we have now discussed that complaint with you". Not addressing that implication would feed into the sort of smear campaigns which Tim is (fairly convincingly, from my point of view) claiming to be a long-running victim of.
By Liam Murray May 16, 2011 - 6:36 pm
Sorry Denny, her question doesn't carry that implication at all. Perhaps contextually, as a response to Tim's post that implication can be 'drawn' but it's the reader who draws it, not it's author who makes it. That distinction is critcal here. Hence my observation that @Akheloios's comment was wong to conflate the two.
I'm not making any judgement on what Tim has or hasn't done or been a victim of because I have innsufficient knowledge to make that judgement.
By Tim_Ireland May 17, 2011 - 7:35 am
Her question is flawed to the extent that 'yes' or 'no' are not valid answers. The nearest one could give to a correct answer would be "not in the way that Dorries implies" with perhaps a few extra words to do justice to the vast distance between reality and what Dorries implies. Pam_nAshes either knows this, or is basing a damaging proposition on an ill-informed opinion. Pam_nAshes has for years been critical of this blog without actually specifying any issue she might have with it; she merely denigrates with vague accusations, most often by calling my state of mind into question. It recently emerged that she's been basing a blunt and quite false claim I am bipolar on a facetious remark I made on my blog way back in 2001.
By Richard Manns May 14, 2011 - 1:15 pm
A caution is a statement, by the Police, that you have committed the offence, but the act was minor enough to spare the citation.
If you think otherwise, and that your evidence will exonerate you, the Courts are open to you to do so.
By Tim_Ireland May 14, 2011 - 1:50 pm
A caution is indeed what you say it is. But you are entirely wrong to say or imply that I have been given one. Being interviewed under caution is not the same as being issued with a police caution, not by a long shot.
By Richard Manns May 14, 2011 - 4:22 pm
Then I misread; you were warned, clearly.
For the sake of clarity, I am in no way a fan of Nadine Dorries.
However, being Interviewed Under Caution means not merely that an accusation has been made, but that the police "have grounds to suspect" that an offence has been committed. Correct me if I'm wrong.
This implies that some evidence was submitted to the police, however flimsy.
Do you know what that evidence was?
By Tim_Ireland May 14, 2011 - 4:48 pm
I'll be delighted to discuss the details of Dorries' complaint at a later date. If police seriously thought an offence had been committed, a crime reference number would have been assigned at the outset. Also, others were invited by police to take part in an interview under caution, and I do not think police had any cause to suspect them of being involved in any offence.
By Jimmy May 14, 2011 - 3:29 pm
Rather puzzled by this. I've looked for something called the "Harassment Act" and drawn a blank. There is something called the "Protection from Harassment Act", but this contains no provision for a "warning" either in section 2 or anywhere else. Would I be right therefore in assuming I can paraphrase the above as "Tim, you've done nothing wrong but it would make our lives easier if you give the mad old trout a wide berth from here on in"?
By @mjmilan May 15, 2011 - 9:00 am
That's not so wide of the mark Jimmy – the only real issue being that the police have not described Dorries as a mad old trout.
A few weeks back, I decided to contact Bedfordshire police to see if I could get any indication of what was going on. Their media department basically said that Tim had been advised that not attending any meetings at which Dorries was present would help to prevent any further problems. I specifically went on to ask, should Tim have a problem with this advice and choose to ignore it, would that affect his standing with the police – and the answer was No.
It was merely advice – intended to prevent a situation from getting worse. It had no legal weight behind it whatsoever.
By Docpete May 14, 2011 - 4:43 pm
I'm afraid that Nadine Dorries is not an individual that inspires me or fills me with confidence. I am an instinctive Conservative (i.e. less State control) and have voted repeatedly as such even though the Conservatives have long ago betrayed their principles. I vote this way in order to attempt to nudge the ship of State in the more sensible direction of minimising central power. Dorries is a self-publicising, self-important parody. The "nurse" tag is a load of manure – there are idiot nurses, idiot doctors, idiot miners, idiot politicians etc etc. Your trade does not imbue a patina of respectability. Talking of which, I am an idiot doctor, ex-idiot RAF Officer, ex-idiot Head of University Hospital Department and current exile from the UK. While Dorries is still in her political position, I'm not coming back.
By dexter May 14, 2011 - 5:10 pm
Anybody can interview anybody "under caution" It's the method used by Capita salesmen when they knock on doors posing as "Tv enforcement officers"..it's no big deal
By Tim_Ireland May 14, 2011 - 10:36 pm
Though it's comforting how casually they closed the investigation (i.e. with short phone call) I am entirely unhappy that police chose to end this in a muddle where Dorries can play these games. In fact, I asked for their position in writing at the time. I still hope to get that. Then you'll have their position, and not what Dorries says it is, and not what I say it is.
By @mjmilan May 15, 2011 - 9:11 am
However, whether or not you have been given a formal caution is simply a matter of demonstrable fact, and I think it would reassure a lot of people if you just stated whether this is the case or not. It's not a matter of opinions…
I remind everyone that even Dorries' statement does not suggest that Tim has been formally cautioned however, and I'm confident that if he had, it would.
By @Rolo_Tamasi May 15, 2011 - 12:14 pm
It is worrying that the police can give you a warning for an offence you don’t admit to and an MP publish that smear to attempt to undermine public scrutiny of her questionable behaviour.
Many people will believe that a police warning requires you to formally accept guilt (a formal caution) and have a criminal record as a result making Dorries defamatory statement very damaging.
That was my assumption when I read her blog and I assumed there were technical reasons you didn’t respond to the police with a simple request that they either prosecute or withdraw the defamatory statement.
I still feel uneasy that I don’t understand enough about what happened to be able to make an issue about it with Dorries.
By @mjmilan May 15, 2011 - 2:21 pm
I think what Tim is looking to do is to get a formal written response to this from the police, to which he can then point and say "Look – in their own words…". It is definitely a good way to proceed, because it will blow Dorries out of the water completely.
By toryboysnevergrowup May 16, 2011 - 12:25 pm
If the Police haven't issued Tim with a warning then Dorries saying that they have would clearly be a libel. I don't think it would be a very credible argument for an MP to say that they had confused the Police interviewing someone under caution with their issuing of a warning which normally requires some acceptance of guilt by the person receiving the warning.
By @mjmilan May 17, 2011 - 11:09 am
But it's Dorries, so all bets are off!
By Elby The Berserk May 15, 2011 - 12:26 pm
Pale grey typeface on a white background. Have you never heard of accessibility?
By Topstory May 16, 2011 - 5:38 am
What is so interesting about Nadine Dorries in the first place?
Is she relevant to anything other than her own ego?
Why bother recording her?
OK it's good to respond to this, but by not explaining the goings-on other than the hoo-ha, we are all left a bit puzzled.
Is there another aspect to this story?
By toryboysnevergrowup May 16, 2011 - 11:50 am
I don't know about the Bedfordshire Police – but if the Met make such a warning they have to issue a letter see here
By Carl Eve May 16, 2011 - 7:29 pm
It's not a real "caution" because for a start, the person in question has to "accept" the caution, which means they accept they've committed a crime.
What does appear to have happened – as surmised by Jimmy – is that police have used what legislation is available to make the matter go away (as far as they're concerned).
Nads rants at cops, they look at evidence, they find no evidence of "stalking" as she suggests, they take on board Tim's evidence, they (probably) take advice from CPS Direct who suggest legislation which deals with the issue without the need for criming it or criminalising anyone.
By Carl Eve May 16, 2011 - 7:30 pm
In effect "a word in your shell-like squire" but with added gusto to ensure a) Tim doesn't turn up at an event where Nads is, which will result in b) Nads not wasting valuable cop time with yet another screaming rant about "stalking" (which most normal people would classify as "much needed scrutiny of elected MP").
Thus, warning over, cops can get back to the job they were created for, Tim is (unfortunately) restricted from challenging Nads in public forum and Nads gets to briefly crow and continues her merry way without any real scrutiny by the local paper WHO CLEARLY AREN'T DOING THEIR FUCKING JOB!
By Carl Eve May 17, 2011 - 5:47 pm
That’s easy mjmilan.
Tim – did you “accept a caution” thus admitting a crime which is recorded on your “record” which is kept on the PNC?
If no, then he’s not been “cautioned” and is not “guilty” of a crime.
Being warned is more like strong advice from exasperated officers.
Which isn’t the same as Nads “warning” the press that the ongoing exposure of MP’s expenses would result in one of them topping themselves.
That’s called “bullshitting” and luckily for Nads has yet to be categorised as a crime.
Beds police could do with making this a lot clearer.
By Tim_Ireland May 17, 2011 - 8:39 pm
No crime here, and no caution issued/accepted.
By Carl Eve May 18, 2011 - 7:49 pm
Well, there we go then. And for the record (although Tim already knows this) I'm a local crime reporter with about a decade of such work under my belt.
So, this means that as Tim's not been issued with or had to accept a caution, then there's no crime here… nothing to see, move along please, you're blocking the pathway, oi you at the back, stop taking pictures…
By @mjmilan May 24, 2011 - 12:07 pm