Wednesday, 6 April 2016

THE EXTRAORDINARY VICTIMISATION OF IAN PUDDICK

While searching YouTube for a World In Action programme that the police had tried to have banned concerning corruption within Scotland Yard, by chance I stumbled on an entirely different story, though it too involved significant police wrongdoing. The video I found was a presentation given to an audience at the 2015 conference of The British Constitutional Group by Ian Puddick, a law abiding citizen, who was a former management consultant but is now a director of a successful plumbing company. If you have ever watched the BBC Rogue Traders, you may have seen Ian advising the show's presenter on the poor workmanship carried out by a shoddy plumber being exposed on the programme. But the story Ian relates has no connection to his profession; instead he tells how his life was deliberately thrown into complete and utter turmoil by members of the City of London Police that acted without accountability to satisfy the whims of a powerful global corporation that decided to stage a vendetta against him simply because it could. This is a story of evil over good, which demonstrates how the power held by global enterprises can be used to exert their considerable influence over authority in ways that can pervert the laws of the land.  

After watching the video I contacted Ian Puddick and have discussed his case at some length with him via emails. From what he has told me I am convinced that the treatment and intrusion into his life was a merciless and most shocking and malicious attack on his civil rights that, in a society that claims to be civilised, should never be allowed to happen. It occurred because powerful executives wanted to silence him, though the danger is that anyone could fall victim to this kind of treatment if a large corporate organisation decides you are a source of nuisance or inconvenience and may constitute a threat to their reputation. What made Ian's case even more shocking was the extraordinary lengths that officers from the City of London Police were willing to go to in order to fabricate a case against him. 

It all began as Ian relaxed in his garden at the end of May 2009 when he was alerted to a text message that came up on his wife's mobile phone. Innocently, he picked up the phone and read the message. To his horror he discovered his wife was having an affair with a married man. The sender of the text was Leena Puddick's boss, Timothy Haynes, a director of the world's largest reinsurance brokers, Guy Carpenter, who she had known since 1997. After confronting his wife, she admitted to the affair that had originated before she married Ian but had been ongoing for 10-years. She told him that she ended the relationship when she married Ian but Haynes refused to accept it was over. Leena continued working as Haynes's secretary but claimed he had started to pressurise her, sending 30 to 40 texts a day, that at times included explicit photographs, in an effort to force her into reinstating the affair. Eventually she gave in and the liaison was reignited at the firm's Christmas party in 2002. After that, Haynes and Mrs Puddick began spending time together outside of work at restaurants, in hotel rooms and at what she later described to one newspaper as, "wonderful places around the country". Ian also found out that the affair was being financed by Haynes using company expenses, a fact that was later determined by expenses receipts fraudulently connected to client activities and supported by a statement Leena Puddick provided to a Guy Carpenter disciplinary tribunal. 

After deciding their marriage was worth saving, Ian called Haynes and confronted him and by politely asking him to move Mrs Puddick from working with him. According to Ian, Haynes became abusive but and told him to mind his own businesses before slamming down the phone. The following day Ian called Nick Frankland, the CEO of Guy Carpenter and repeated his request to have his wife transferred away from working with Haynes. In an emotional state, Ian embarked on a course of action devised to embarrass Haynes by exposing his extra marital activities. He went to Sussex where he surprised Mrs Haynes at home and told her of the affair shared by their respective spouses. Following this, Ian's company received a series of phone messages over the next five days from a female caller who asked him to call Mrs Haynes, but the number the caller left was Timothy Haynes's mobile number. Ian said that he knew the messages were not from Mrs Haynes as she is German and speaks with a strong accent. This meant someone was trying to set him up and he realised, that had he returned the calls, he would have left himself open to all kinds of accusations. Subsequently, he found out that the caller was Hazel Sibbald, an underwriter and friend of both Leena Puddick and Haynes who it seems was returning a favour after Haynes was said to have helped her get a better settlement in her divorce. In view of the dirty tricks being played against him, Ian angrily informed some of Haynes's clients by telling them that he was "a person of no integrity". He later admitted this was wrong, but it was a case of his emotions getting the better of him at a very difficult time. Without realising, his actions were about to unleash a powerful string of events that would not remain a personal grievance between Ian and his wife's lover, but would turn extremely frightening and land him in court accused of various criminal activities, that incredulously included allegations of possessing and dealing cocaine. 

In late June Ian received an anonymous phone call that warned: "... you have no idea who you are fucking with, we have deep, deep pockets and we will fuck you like you have never been fucked before". Despite not knowing who the caller was at the time, the man's identity was later revealed during discovery prior to Ian's first court appearances in October 2009. One document contained a  revealing statement from Ben Hamilton, the (then) managing director of the commercial investigation giant Kroll, to a director of Guy Carpenter that stated "I got a clean phone, called Puddick and told him "you have no idea who we are, we have deep pockets". Although the expletives were conveniently left out, it became very clear who had made the threatening telephone call.  

In order to silence Ian from embarrassing his wife's employer, Kroll stepped in by initiating a covert in-depth investigation into Ian's background and business that was completely unwarranted. They called this Operation Marten. This led to files being passed to Sussex Police in July with allegations against Ian that were intended to result in charges being brought against him for a criminal offence. However, the ploy backfired when the police correctly advised that the accusations against Ian were a civil matter and they rightly refused to act. Sussex Police also believed that Timothy Haynes would not turn up had the matter reached court. It seems a meeting took place between Kroll and one or more directors of Guy Carpenter when a decision was made to escalate the pressure against Ian. The relationship between Krol and the City of London Police has been described as "cosy". As an indication of the influence Krol have, a meeting was held with senior detectives of the City of London Police who acted on what they were told and began a campaign against Ian that became known as Operation Bohan. This was estimated to have cost around £1.4m of public money, though the City of London Police have refused to answer Freedom of Information requests relating to the expenditure. 

The online investigative news site Exaro reported (29 June 2012) that in July 2009 the (then) London-based associate managing director of Kroll, Benedict Hamilton, had sent several confidential emails over a 16-day period to Mel Schwartz who was referred to as "counsel for Marsh and McLennan Companies (MMC)" At the time, MMC was the New York based parent company of both Kroll and Guy Carpenter, although Kroll has since been sold. At the suggestion of Hamilton, Ian Puddick was put under surveillance and court orders were obtained to raid his home and business, to seize his computers and mobile phones and to collect data from T-Mobile. It is understood that the court order was obtained in secret by the London lawyers Mishcon de Reya to obtain Ian's bank account and telephone records, and to monitor his and his employee's telephones on the pretence that "persons unknown had contacted clients of Guy Carpenter Limited and made threats of physical violence". As there has never been any evidence of Ian having made threats of "physical violence" this shows the extent of the perjury that was committed during his victimisation.

The intention was to pry into Ian's affairs covertly without drawing attention to Kroll's involvement in the operation. According to Exaro; in an email dated 17 July 2009, Hamilton advised Schwarz: "Our advice is that the police [in Sussex] are given the letter and reports of the texts, but that the police are not told yet of our analysis of T-Mobile data". The email added: "We are considering the relative advantages and disadvantages of the following options for the endgame: a) contacting Puddick ourselves ... b) presenting our evidence to the police for them to pursue; c) seeking court injunctions against Puddick and his employees." The email continued: "As several have already noted, as a business and property owner, Puddick should realise that he has something to lose here, no matter how angry he is." In another email on 20 July, Hamilton advised: "We are working with Lynsey Mansfield (head of human resources) of Guy Carpenter to ensure the police are kept informed". Sussex police were duly informed but as stated previously, they considered that the allegations against Ian was a civil, not a criminal matter, therefore they were unable to act. Kroll turned instead to the City of London Police for assistance. Exaro reported that a further email advised that a meeting with the City of London Police had gone "very well ... They have offered significant assistance". The email continued by stating that things: "will be out of control once the police and Criminal Prosecution Service agree that there is a case to answer... If they take on the case they have promised to deploy significant resources, including, for example, who had paid for the top-up credits on the mobiles." Interestingly, the email wrongly referred to the CPS as the Criminal Prosecution Service, when it is the 'Crown' Prosecution Service! 

As further proof of Kroll's involvement, the email added: "If they engage, their first action will be to arrest him, search and interview. They have taken copies, of a number of our documents (not source data) and have promised to do a little more work and meet again next Wednesday with their considered opinion ... We are maximising our chances of catching the true villains by keeping our interests below their radar." Dan Mead, the Director of Security at MME, was referred to in a second article on Exaro on 29 June 2012 that gave his justification for seeking the help of the heads of the Police Specialist Crimes Unit: "I did set up the meeting with the City of London Police. We had a problem, and we consulted them. A lot of work was done by Kroll before the police got involved." Doubts should be raised that consider whether or not the work referred to by Kroll was illegal or not more especially as Sussex Police had regarded any alleged activity as a civil matter?

Hamilton also wrote in an email: "If the police take this on, we can avoid being seen to have any role in prosecuting Puddick, which also has advantages. One way to combine the two may be to talk to Puddick post arrest, and warn him of our options in the civil courts to prevent him reoffending".

From that point on, the pressure against Ian began to really heat up and to turn unbelievably nasty. In an act that has never been quite explained, on 12 August 2009 his home was raided around six in the morning by thirteen or more police that included armed officers of the Major Crimes Unit and Counter Terrorism Directorate. They took away Ian's computers, mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras, satellite-navigation system and arrested him. Subsequently, his offices and those of his accountant were also raided, neither of which had any connection to the extra-marital affair that had occurred between Mrs Puddick and Haynes. 

The plot against Ian was thickening. In July 2009 his wife was subsequently summoned to a meeting at Guy Carpenter's offices and was interviewed by a City of London police officer who did not give his name. At the meeting Mrs Puddick was accused of fabricating the affair out of jealousy because, she was told, was only married to 'a lowly plumber' and not somebody of her boss's wealth and status. The police also claimed Ian was jealous of the high profile City status Haynes enjoyed and had forced his wife into going along with the affair theory he (Ian) had concocted. The Senior HR Partner of Guy Carpenter, Ms Terri Woods, according to Mrs Puddick, told the police officer that Ian Puddick was a "violent and dangerously unstable" person. As a result of this entirely fanciful statement, the company offered to give her all the assistance they could and to arrange for someone to meet her from the local railway station to escort her to and from the office. It is significant that the City of London Police were unable to find any record of this meeting ever taking place. Mrs Puddick has said that she asked for a record of the meeting to go on her personnel file and for the name of the police officer, but accordingly her requests were refused. Ms Woods claimed that the police officer had called in unannounced, but suspiciously he had not signed in the visitor's book when arriving at Guy Carpenter and it was assumed he had entered the building via the offices of Kroll. The police officer's name was later revealed during discovery in CPS documents as DC Dan Valour. In a strange development, no doubt following instructions, in August Timothy Haynes made a statement denying his affair with Mrs Puddick.

During the eighteen months that followed, Ian received scores of anonymous telephone calls and texts; some mocking him, others threatening. One can only guess where these calls originated! In December 2009 all of his suppliers were contacted anonymously and told that his business was going into bankruptcy and an unknown caller told his accountant that he had been convicted of dealing Class A drugs. As a result of this malicious story, Ian's accountant had to contact each client to inform and reassure them that the business was completely solvent. Despite the false allegations being made against him, Ian was charged with non-violent harassment for calling Haynes and the CEO of Guy Carpenter, despite the latter stating that he had not been harassed or threatened. He was released on bail but once his computers and other property that had been confiscated were returned from forensic analysis four weeks later, he was re-arrested in September. This time criminal charges were brought against him in what MP David Burrowes later described in Parliament as a "taxpayer funded crusade". At the time of the second arrest, as he was innocent of any major offence, Ian was under the misconception that justice would prevail and felt no need to involve a lawyer. He had admitted to calling Guy Carpenter and by trying to discredit his wife's lover, but clearly the detectives that interviewed him felt they could build a more substantial and serious case against him.

He was taken to the cells at Snow Hill and interviewed by two detectives without being cautioned, without a lawyer present and conveniently it seems, without the interview being video recorded. Detective Sergeant John Ellis, who was in charge of the 'investigation', claimed to have obtained a photograph of Ian taking cocaine. Ian not only denied this but informed the officers that he had never taken drugs in his life and would not even know what cocaine looked like. Ian described how the questioning became progressively more aggressive and that Ellis screamed into his face and swore at him in a way that he said made him feel "brutalised". Ellis informed Ian that he had found notes from Hendon Magistrates Court that proved he was involved in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and bizarrely demanded to know the names of the judges and magistrates he was colluding with. At that time Ian was in fact going through the process of becoming a magistrate and had been advised to attend court to become familiar with the process. Ellis refused to believe this and called him a "fucking liar". When he demanded to see the alleged drug taking photograph, Ellis finally admitted it did not exist. However, the false cocaine allegations were later brought up during Ian's second court appearance. On this occasion he was charged with 'non-violent harassment'. The ordeal had left him physically drained and he left the police station in tears. The case went before the magistrate in October with all kinds of stringent bail conditions attached pending further investigations. Oddly, some of the prosecution paperwork could not be found. Despite being charged with 'non-violent harassment', the police attempted to convince the court that Ian had threatened people. This was challenged by the magistrate, who asked the police to describe what the precise nature of the threats were? Though asked twice, Detective Constable Steve Briars was unable to answer. Ian pointed out to the magistrate that his wife, who most might assume would be fundamental to the case, had not been asked to make a statement. In response, the police said: "No, Mrs Puddick was not a material witness". Another police officer, from the counter-terrorism officer when quizzed, amazingly claimed that they could find no evidence of the affair between Haynes and Mrs Puddick ever occurring. Without sufficient evidence, the prosecution case collapsed which should have been the end of the matter. As Ian left court he was confronted by Briars who called him a "wanker". 

Naturally aggrieved by the unreasonable and malicious way he had been treated by the City of London Police, Ian made a formal complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). They were unable to locate any video footage of his interrogation, which, had it ever existed in the first place, strangely disappeared while DS Wells and his colleague could not remember ever questioning Ian, either in the cells or interview room. However, Ian learned that the swipe cards used by police to enter cells and interview rooms record the date, time and identity of the officers using them and these records were produced to 'remind' the officers that Ian's recollection of events was better than theirs! However, this proved to be elementary as the IPCC merely passed the complaint back to the City of London Police to investigate internally and it came as no surprise when it was dismissed. Ian decided to set up a blog in order to create public awareness of his victimisation. Meanwhile, on 23 March 2010, Timothy Haynes was called to attend a Guy Carpenter disciplinary process over his expenses. Following this he advised the City of London Police that he was resigning from the company and that he no longer wished to proceed with the case against Ian. For the time being, matters quietened down and the case against Ian was dropped and his property confiscated in the raid on his home and offices was returned. Feeling outraged by the extent of the City of London Police operation and the complicity of Guy Carpenter and Kroll, on 10 April Ian published a blog post that named Haynes. 

On 10 May 2010 Ian was arrested for a second time 'by appointment' and kept in the cells for eight hours. This followed a further attempted raid on his house by the City of London Police Counter-terrorism Directorate that came to his home without a search warrant. Leena Puddick refused to let them in, but DC Sarah Mayo said they "didn't need a warrant" and tried to force her way past Mrs Puddick. However, Leena stood her ground and the police withdrew. 

In the period prior to his trial, Ian had camped out in Parliament Square and went to Speakers Corner at weekends to publicise his treatment at the hands of the police. It would appear that the police did not appreciate what Ian was doing or had written about them on an internet domain he had set up as www.policeexpenses.co.uk even though his comments told the truth. The police advised him: "Even if it is completely true, you have committed a criminal offence". He was charged under Section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 for publishing three websites which alleged were designed to discredit an individual both professionally and personally. The person in question clearly was Timothy Haynes even though none of this activity mentioned him. 

As the case was set to be heard in a Magistrates Court, the tight rules of discovery that apply to the Crown Court are not enforceable. This worked in Ian's favour as his counsel were under no obligation to outline how his defence would be conducted. His defence was simply based on 'reasonableness' and whether he had acted reasonably. However, in what would appear to be a conspiracy, Ian's home was broken into prior to the trial, his defence files were stolen and an active bug was found that had been placed to eavesdrop on his conversations.  

Although the police were pushing for a custodial sentence, the case was considered too minor to warrant a trial in the Crown Court. Instead, after two adjournments, the case went before District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe at Westminster Magistrates Court on 15 June 2011. The prosecution claimed Ian was guilty of harassment through Facebook, Twitter and via his website. It was the first time a case had been brought before the courts of anyone charged with an offence of harassing an individual through social media. Ian denied all charges, but the police lied under oath, and claimed he had posted thousands of comments on Twitter and Facebook. Their case was about to be undone when Detective Constable Sarah Mayo admitted under cross examination by Ian's barrister, Michael Wolkind QC, that she had "never seen" any of the alleged social media posts but "believed it was Ian's intention to use social media". The reason for this was clear; none existed as Ian had, at that time, never used Facebook and Twitter. DC Mayo alleged that Haynes had resigned from Guy Carpenter due to the damage the website had caused to his reputation. However, she had failed to check her facts; Haynes had resigned as a director of the company in April 2010, before Ian's website had been set up. The truth was that Haynes had resigned following the investigation into his expenses by Guy Carpenter. To prove this, Ian's counsel was able to show the court a letter written in evidence by Nick Frankland, CEO of Guy Carpenter that gave the reason for Haynes leaving the company. Mayo was told by the Defence that Ian's rights had been abused and she was asked whether he had acted "reasonably while in custody". She admitted that he "had been reasonable throughout" but when asked whether he was shown the same level of "reasonableness", she attempted to evade the question before finally admitted he "was not". The police called in Matt Mansell, of Mesh Digital as an expert witness who gave a ninety-minute analysis of Ian's website in a way that attempted to portray how the content could have been used as a vehicle to harass and discredit an individual, but he was unable to prove it had harassed Timothy Haynes.   

The prosecution claimed, but were unable to prove, that the level of distress Ian had caused to Haynes was regarded to be so serious by the police to warrant the use of counter-terrorism squad officers to raid his home and arrest him. The police, no doubt realising their case had no substance, resorted to their 'old cherry' by alleging that they had found crack cocaine in the lounge, kitchen and loft room at Ian's home during the raid, yet three officers who claim to have found drugs were not in court to be cross-examined. Angrily, the judge called for DS Ellis and DCs Colin Dawson and Briars to be brought to court to testify. When DS John Ellis took the stand he was said to be "cocky and self assured". Under oath he stated that he had found large quantities of crack cocaine along with drug paraphernalia at Ian's home. When asked by the judge what he had done with the drugs he informed the court that he had "forgotten to confiscate it". He had also forgotten to make an entry in his pocket book or to tell other officers to do so. Dawson and Briars similarly had taken no notes during the raid and had lost their recollection of why the imaginary drugs were not confiscated. Clearly, there were no drugs at Ian's home; he had never been involved with drug taking and the evidence given by Ellis was completely untrue. Yet, though he had committed perjury he was not prosecuted. He was merely allowed to get away with it. 

On 17 June 2011, Ian Puddick was found not guilty on the charge of criminal harassment. The harassment had, in reality not been committed by him but been instigated against him by Kroll, Guy Carpenter and the City of London Police. Indeed, as his case was about to go to court for the second trial, as a result of an anonymous tip-off,  Ian was stopped while driving his company van in North London and handcuffed by Metropolitan Police officers. It appears they were told he was driving a stolen van, but he was able to satisfy them that it was a hoax. The police apologised and even wished him luck in his forthcoming trial. During the pursuance of his rights, Ian continued to attract the attention of the City of London Police. He was arrested on several occasions, on one occasion in October 2010 by Julian Bell of the Counter Terrorism Directorate at Speakers' Corner who alleged Ian was spreading hate about Timothy Haynes. As the police could produce no evidence the CPS dropped did not pursue the case. He was instead charged with uploading a website that caused harm and distress.  At one point he was even arrested and questioned regarding the £8.60 he had spent buying his website domain name that he had claimed as a business expense.

During the trial, Ian's defence had called Ronald Cuffley, an expert witness who regularly gives evidence on computer matters. He was so appalled by the treatment of Ian and the perjury of the police witnesses that he made a formal complaint to the IPCC. He complained about how the police suddenly introduced allegations of cocaine being found in Ian's home when there had been no previous mention of this, or indeed any evidence to support their gross allegation. He asked the IPCC to investigate the case itself and not to refer it back to the City of London Police as he felt it inappropriate for the force to investigate its own officers. Exaro on 15 December 2012 reported Mr Cuffley's letter that stated: "It cannot be known who was involved in the association with Kroll, which would taint their ability to carry out a fair investigation". Regardless, the IPCC referred the matter back to the police which is normal practice. Mr Cuffley responded to this by saying: "He agreed to the initial investigation being carried out by City of London Police, otherwise the complaint would not proceed" but added: "City of London detectives are investigating and conducting interviews with those who witnessed the evidence in question, including the district judge and Michael Wolkind, barrister for the defence. I personally was appalled by the overt and blatant lies that officer told on oath". 

It has become obvious that what should really have remained a domestic matter between the parties involved over a matrimonial affair, but this was deliberately escalated by Guy Carpenter and Kroll, with the unwarranted and underhanded involvement of the City of London Police. Unfortunately It was not an isolated case of a very large corporate organisation using its immense powers, to intimidate an individual. Ian Puddick was the innocent victim of the affair that had threatened his marriage even though he has admitted allowing his emotions to get out of control by publicising the affair. Fundamentally he did nothing illegal but he was treated worse than a common criminal. Certainly, in my view, by making his wife's affair public was insufficient reason for her employer and their henchmen to launch what for all intents and purpose amounted to a very serious personal vendetta against him. The most worrying aspect of Ian's story is that the City of London Police allowed its officers to follow a most disturbing course of action that could have ended with an innocent and indeed hurt man, being imprisoned while police officers were allowed to get away after committing blatant perjury. This abuse of police power is something the Home Secretary should look into and rectify. The raids on Ian's home and office was questioned by a custody sergeant at Bishopsgate police station who registered his concerns over the legality in the custody log on 12 August 2009. At that stage the police should have withdrawn, but it seems the sergeant's concern was ignored. Even had Ian been guilty of criminal harassment (of which Westminster Court found him innocent on each of two charges) under Section 2 of The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) relating to harassment without violence, then a raid should never have been authorised. However, it appears that the Detective Superintendant in charge of the case, who has since left the force, was satisfied, for reasons best known to him, that Ian had committed harassment with violence under Section 4 of the Act. As such this would permit a raid to be authorised under Section 18 of the Act if the harassment suspect is also 'putting people in fear of violence'. As Ian Puddick had not threatened or implied violence in any way to anyone, according to his counsel, Michael Wolkind: "There is clear prima-facie evidence showing that raids carried out by the City of London Police should not have been authorised".

The entire incident regarding Ian Puddick must be viewed as a wholesale abuse of power. As David Burrowes MP stated in Parliament on 9 July 2011: "... there is a key point of principle of equality before the law. As my constituent has stated on numerous occasions, if this could happen to him, it could happen to anyone. "He continued by stating his concern that the... "apparent influence of wealth and authority on the implementation of the law. It seems clear that had it not been for the well-connected private-security company and the high profile of the business involved, my constituent would not have experienced such a disproportionate use of force and response. If there is another reason, no one is aware of it. Indeed, it is interesting that the man who had the affair with Mr Puddick's wife was even advised by police in Sussex, the county where he lives, that this was a civil, not a criminal, matter, and anyone looking at this case would say that seems to be a very reasonable judgement to make. Despite that, the City of London Police was approached and the raid in May 2009 followed. My constituent argues that the second raid almost a year later, following the publication of the blog and website, was also based on information that came from the private security firm and outside interests". 

One of the problems Ian Puddick experienced was the lack of interest the media gave to his case after the raid on his home had occurred. For the main part, the national press were only willing to give coverage to his plight once the case was over and he had proved his innocence. Even then the stories that appeared expressed more interest in the sordid details of Leena Puddick's affair than with the real issues that concern the manipulation that took place between Kroll and the police. There were a few exceptions; one being the investigative news website Exaro, that was prepared to delve into the darker side behind the story.  The journalists Tim Wood and Andrea Perry wrote four articles that brought to light a series of emails pertinent to the case and described Kroll's involvement as "a sophisticated operation against Puddick". The other thing, so frequently overlooked, is that in real terms, the fight against such gross and unnecessary victimisation has so far cost Ian something in the region of £250,000; an extremely high price to pay for someone that was completely innocent of all that he was charged with. 

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