Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report

Annex 126

Letter to the Chairman of the Committee on Standards and Privileges from Digby Brown, solicitors


We act for Suzanne Hilliard. We have received a copy of your letter to her of 26 June.

On behalf of our client we would like to clarify certain matters. The first relates to the question of the telephone accounts. At the relevant time, our client was living in a flat which had a payphone. There were other people living in the flat, and our client did not know who, if anyone, was the account holder. No accounts were received, certainly not by Ms Hilliard. She does not know the identity of the telephone company, though assumes it is BT.

On 7 April at her interview with the Commissioner, Ms Hilliard was asked whether she could obtain duplicate telephone bills, having already advised the Commissioner that she did not have them. She agreed to try and do so. She made enquiries and found that she could not obtain these as the phone was a payphone. She advised the Commissioner of this on 18 April. The Commissioner has subsequently asked for further information, which has been provided.

The extent of any "undertaking" given by Ms Hilliard was simply to make enquiries in relation to duplicate bills. This she did. In any event, our client does not see what the particular significance of the account is. She assumes that this is to demonstrate her contact with Dr Reid. Ms Hilliard has made it clear during the course of this investigation that it was Dr Reid who invariably contacted her. This is contained within her statement, and within the transcript of her interview.

Our client has cooperated fully with the Commissioner in this enquiry. She has provided a comprehensive statement as well as attending for interview in London, and answering further queries. The interview and further enquiries have been dealt with in a particularly difficult period of our client`s life, as she has just completed sitting her Finals examinations at Strathclyde University. She is concerned at the suggestion made by the Commissioner that she has not been co-operative. We share that concern, and indeed have general concerns about the way in which the Commissioner has conducted herself with Ms Hilliard.

We trust that this explains her position and if you wish any further clarification, please contact us.

4 July 2000

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