Home > All, Politics, Security Issues > Richard Thomas responds to Alex Owen’s statement to the Leveson Enquiry

Richard Thomas responds to Alex Owen’s statement to the Leveson Enquiry

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I was pretty damning of the ICO in my post outlining Alex Owens’ witness statement to the Leveson Enquiry (looking into the phone hacking scandal). You can read that here: Something rotten in the state of the Information Commissioner’s Office – will Leveson act?

Well, surprise, surprise. Richard Thomas doesn’t remember it.

The informal meeting to which Mr Owens refers took place in this instance because (understandably) the team wished to share the nature and scale of their success with me. I recall that meeting as the occasion when I was informed about the volume and nature of the materials – the “treasure trove” – which had been discovered. I recall congratulating Mr Owens and the team for a job well done. I do not, however, recall any course of action being formally or informally recommended by Mr Owens or anyone else, let alone being “bemused”. Specifically, I do not recall any proposal, on that or any other occasion, that any journalists – nor indeed any other customers of Steve Whittamore and his associates – should be investigated. I not recall even any suggestion that any further investigations were under consideration. One of my central memories of that meeting is a recognition of the challenge presented for a very small team by the sheer bulk of the evidence, without any suggestion that even more should be obtained. I do not recall whether Francis Aldhouse was at that meeting, but I do not ever recall hearing the words attributed to him.

…I do not have any recollection or awareness whatsoever of preventing any Investigating Officer…

…Nor do I have any recollection of making any later “decision” or issuing any sort of instruction…

…Nor was I aware at any time of any grievance…

…Although I cannot recall any discussion…
Fourth Witness Statement of Richard Thomas CBE

That’s the defence. And now the attack:

Mr Owens has made a number of allegations about me and the ICO. It is therefore necessary for me to alert the Inquiry to the fact that there were a number of performance, disciplinary and grievance issues between Mr Owens and the ICO…

It’s all so predictable that any media relations person could have written it for him without ever needing to speak to him. The difference is that Owens states things happened, while Thomas doesn’t deny them, just can’t remember them.

Categories: All, Politics, Security Issues
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