Examination of Witness (Questions 200-219)|
TUESDAY 15 JANUARY 2002
200. The Committee is trying to get to the bottom
of allegations against you about harassment of witnesses.
(Mr Vaz) I have not harassed by Mrs Eggington.
201. It would be helpful if you could answer
the questions. Why did you suggest that the Commissioner was interfering
in criminal proceedings?
(Mr Vaz) Because she was. This is a matter that the
police should investigate, and the police should be left to investigate
it. They have to interview the complainant, who is my mother,
they have to tell her where it is going to end up, and then she
has to make a decision as to what she wants to do with the issue.
It is not a matter for me; it is a matter for her and the advice
that she has from her family, and I do not want to get my motherIf
it is up to me, I do not want to get my mother embroiled in Mrs
Gresty and Mrs Eggington, thank you very much. If this does end
up in court, my mother will have to give evidence. She has to
decide whether, in her state of health, she wants to do that,
and I do not believe that these things should be taken lightly.
It should be left to the police. The police have asked for something
to happen. What Mrs Filkin did is she intervened in this matter
unnecessarily. It should have been left to the police to work
out what the situation was.
202. You told the Commissioner that one telephone
call allegedly was made to your mother by someone purporting to
be Mrs Eggington, but you told the police there had been several.
(Mr Vaz) No, not that several calls had
been made to my mother. We have hadShe has had several
calls from people. The only call that she relates to be from Mrs
Eggington is on 4 October. Mrs Eggington has a history of contacting
witnesses. So has Mrs Gresty. If you look at my annexes you will
see that I have submitted to you a memorandum which shows that
Mrs Gresty had been contacting my family for the last year. I
am not going to get my mother involved in this. It is up to her
to decide what she wants to do.
203. So despite evidence from the police that
no such call was ever made
(Mr Vaz) No, the police have not said that. The police
have said they have looked at the home telephone records of Mrs
Eggington and Mrs Gresty. That is what they have looked at. If
you are going to make a call to somebody, I do not think you would
go home and make it there.
204. So you are insistent that your mother did
report this to you?
(Mr Vaz) Yes, of course she reported it to me.
Chairman: Are there any more questions
on this particular issue of harassment?
205. Yes. I am sorry, I am looking quickly for
the original police memo, but I think it says that there was no
incoming call at your mother's house. Do you accept that?
(Mr Vaz) From Mrs Eggington?
206. It said that on 4 October there was no
incoming call. You just said that they checked the records.
(Mr Vaz) That cannot possibly be right, because I
rang her, because that was the day she collapsed and was taken
to hospital. I do not think we should be discussing these issues
about my mother's health and what happened to her. Only close
members of my family knew the medical position.
207. No, this is a serious issue, Mr Vaz, and
the Committee has every entitlement to ask questions on the matter,
respecting your mother's condition, but we are asking questions
of you, not your mother.
(Mr Vaz) Sir George, it is a serious issue, but the
point is, why is this always about what other people have said
to Mrs Filkin? What is the Committee going to do? This is about
208. The Committee has allegations in front
of it about you which we are trying to resolve fairly to you and
fairly to the House, and the way to do it is to answer, as best
you can, the questions that are put to you by members of the Committee.
We are approaching the end. We have made a lot of progress. I
hope we can maintain that progress with the remaining questions
that can be put to you.
(Mr Vaz) But, Sir George, with the greatest of respect,
this is my onlyThe Clerk does not answer my questions when
I write to him; he leaves it to the Committee. This is my only
opportunity to ask questions. I do not have any opportunity.
Chairman: At the moment we are in the
middle of a series of questions about a specific issue, and Mr
Ottaway is asking some questions. I would be grateful, if Mr Ottaway
wants to ask any more questions, if he would do so: if not, Mr
209. Could you have a look at the Leicester
Constabulary memo, pages 491, 492 and 493?
(Ms Filkin) Mr Vaz was sent this letter after the
annex, because it is a letter that was sent before Christmas.
(Mr Vaz) If you would let me have a look at your copy,
(Ms Filkin) It is on page 3, and it is the next-but-last
paragraph. (Copy handed to Mr Vaz)
(Mr Vaz) Right, page 3.
210. Page 3, penultimate paragraph: "The
Leicestershire Constabulary are now in receipt of information
to suggest that no calls were received by Mrs. Vaz's home telephone
on the 4th October, 2001, that could be attributable to either
Miss. Egginton or Mrs. Gresty." Do you accept that, and also
that that phrasing would dispute that the call could be made from
(Mr Vaz) No, what you said was that there were no
phone calls made to her house. That is not what they have said.
Secondly, they have based this information on going to a former
Chief Superintendent and Deputy Head of Special Branch, who has
been contacting witnesses throughout this case, to look at her
home phone records. Frankly, if I was going to make a call, I
would not do it from my home phone.
211. I accept that the premise of my original
question was inaccurate that there were no incoming calls, but
in your response you said, "They could make the calls from
(Mr Vaz) Yes.
212. The point is that this memo confirms that
actually what they are looking at is the records of your mother's
house, so that would seem to discount your suggestion that they
could make the phone calls from anywhere.
(Mr Vaz) No, because they said that she
did receive calls on that day. They have also looked at the home
telephone of Gresty and Eggington and the calls that they have
made. That is the information they have. When I rang the police
on 5 October I said, "I'd like this call traced", and
they said they could not trace these calls, it would be too expensive.
I said, "Well what is your advice, then?" They said
that their advice was not to answer the phone. So nothing then
happened until Mrs Filkin decided that she wanted to intervene
in this process.
213. So you are actually suggesting that either
Mrs Eggington or Mrs Gresty did make a phone call, but not from
(Mr Vaz) I am not suggesting anything. It is not for
me to suggest. What I did was pass on the information that I was
given that the call was made, that the word "Filkin"
and "Eggington" was used, and that is it. I went to
seek the advice of the police immediately as to what we could
do. They saidwell, they pointed to two things"First
of all, your mum's on a ventilator, so she cannot receive any
calls." They then said, "Don't answer the phone."
They then said they cannot trace the call, and that was it. What
they have done subsequently is they have gone and looked at somebody's
homeWell, they have said what they have said.
214. If you are making these suggestions as
to what happened, why should I not accept the wording in this
(Mr Vaz) I am not asking you not to accept it.
215. But in a sense it says here that no phone
call was made which could be attributable to Mrs Eggington or
(Mr Vaz) On the basis of looking at their telephone
216. It does not say that.
(Mr Vaz) No, but that is all they have looked at,
is it not?
217. How do you know that?
(Mr Vaz) I could only assume. I do not know. I do
not know what
218. It is an assertion.
(Mr Vaz) I do not wish to get my mother involved in
a lifetime's activity with Mrs Eggington and Mrs Gresty. I know
what it has meant to my family over the last year. There have
been calls to my house. I have had a police alarm put in. I have
had harassment over the last year. I do not want this to continue.
It must be up to my mother to decide how she wants to take matters
further. When she is fit and well, she will then decide what she
wants to do.
219. I quite understand that, and indeed I sympathise
with the point you are making. None the less, before your mother
went into hospital it is said by the Leicestershire Constabulary
that she did not take a call from Mrs Eggington or Mrs Gresty.
(Mr Vaz) Well if you look at the letter it is phrased
very carefully, is it not? I am not going to comment on what the
Leicestershire Police have said. There is an ongoing investigation.
They must be allowed to investigate.
Chairman: Mr McNamara, then Mr Bottomley.
Mr McNamara: I wonder if Mr Vaz has a
copy of the letter of 10 January which was sent to Ms Filkin by
Nick Gargan, Detective Superintendent of Crime Support?
Chairman: Perhaps we can pause and make
that letter available, as it has only just come in to us. I think
it is fair that he should have it. (Copy handed to Mr Vaz)
The Committee adjourned for a short time
Chairman: Mr McNamara, do you want to
pursue your questions?
8 Note by witness: No, in the past there
have been several silent calls. There was only one call.
This is confirmed in the letter from the police to my mother of
10 December 2001. Back
Note by witness: Completely accurate tracing of calls
is not possible. It is very difficult to trace calls made via
the internet through a server. Back