Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter to Superintendent Nick Gargan, Leicestersire Constabulary,

from Councillor Merlyn Vaz

I have been given a copy of a letter from you to Elizabeth Filkin dated 10 January 2002. According to your letter, you state that you were informed by Mrs Filkin that the Committee of Standards and Privileges had asked you to meet with her.

You will appreciate, that as the victim of the reported act, I am extremely concerned about a number of inaccuracies in your statement and in some of the judgements made in connection with your investigation.

In particular, I believe you seriously misled the Committee in stating that I have refused to co-operate with you.

I have been having treatment for * * * for the past three years; this has resulted in additional complications of * * *. You were aware, it seems, of my movements into and out of hospital since the beginning of October, and therefore, clearly should also have been aware that within days of my release at the end of November 2001, I was re-admitted to hospital with * * *, particularly since my daughter wrote to you on 8th January, explicitly informing you about this.

I was informed by my consultant yesterday when I told him I was considering writing to you he told me that two officers had called at the hospital while I was in intensive care and were told by him that I should not be disturbed. I am surprised that you did not tell the Committee of this. He did not even want to tell me about this so as not to impede my progress.

* * *, and I had to be transported from London while on oxygen to the hospital in Leicester. You will understand from this, therefore, that your written request for a meeting at the beginning of December (when I was in hospital) came at a very difficult time for me, and made it impossible for me to respond in the way I would have wanted to do.

My illness, particularly over the last three months, has been a cause of considerable anxiety to me and to my family, given my age and the nature of the complications. I have been advised by my consultant that stress or anxiety of any kind may * * *. I live in fear that any infection might again cause * * *. I note that you, too, have apparently acknowledged the difficulties I am facing, in saying: "...given her current health problems, I am not minded to sanction any additional contact with her".

I am, therefore, confused by the claim in your statement that "the victim has chosen not to co-operate with the investigation". This is surely seriously misleading, particularly when you appear to contrast me directly with "... the most likely suspects, who have co-operated fully".

I told my son about the telephone call immediately before I was admitted to hospital. I would normally have contacted you myself. I was unable during much of following period to read and speak at all and recently to speak without considerable discomfort. I have relied on my daughter to respond to your only communication to me (which came while I was in hospital).

My children do not, as you know have the right to act in any further capacity on my behalf. It cannot, therefore, have been right, surely, for you to expect my son to provide you with confidential information about me while I was in intensive care. With the dignity I have left, I try to continue to make my own decisions about my life. I especially needed to seek your advice as to what was to happen. Strong medical advice remains that I should not have any further anxiety in my life.

In the light of the above, and in the interests of the truth, you will wish I am sure to correct the assertion you have made about my choosing 'not to co-operate with the Investigation', and to acknowledge that I was, in fact, in hospital between 6 and 21 December. In addition, I should appreciate a full explanation from you as to why the quite reasonable act of reporting the call to the police, and my responses, should be the subject for discussions with third parties without my consent and, I think, in breach of my human rights. I am not a witness in the Filkin matter and do not seek to be. I simply had one problem which I would have thought the police could resolve.

Please let me know if you require confirmation from the doctors treating me. I enclose a copy of my current medical status. Needless to say, I am quite willing to give you any information I can.

However, I trust you will understand my wish for you to communicate with me directly, as you would with any other victim, and not to have your decisions on the case relayed to me through Mrs Filkin, as has just happened in this extraordinary way.

I would be most grateful, as the victim, to receive a step by step account of what has been done and for what reason.

(dictated by Cllr Merlyn Vaz and typed by her daughter)

22 January 2002

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