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

Annex 3

Letter to Mr Vyan Gresty

from David Price, Solicitors


I write further to your letter of 8 November.

My client strongly denies what is said by you as regards the cause of your wife's unfortunate illness and she wishes her a speedy recovery.

However, the fact of the matter remains that your wife has obligations to my client and to her clients. My client also has obligations to her clients which include the protection of their confidences. A confidence between a client and a lawyer is of supreme importance, much in the same way as the confidences of a patient and a doctor.

I enclose a copy in an article published in the Mail on Sunday on 3 June 2001. While it may be the case that your wife did not authorise the publication of the article, it is also equally clear that she is the ultimate source of the allegations contained in the article. This is apparent from the statement which she allegedly gave to Eileen Eggington.

The information emanating from your wife and contained in the article is entirely false. It has caused very significant harm to the reputation of my client. The Mail on Sunday has now offered to publish an apology and correction to my client as well as offering her compensation for the injury caused to her reputation. However, that cannot undo all the harm caused to her and her clients.

You say that your wife has acted through this period with the "utmost honesty". While that may be the case, the fact of the matter is that as a result of her actions a newspaper article has been published that has misinformed the millions of readers of the Mail on Sunday and caused unjustified injury to my client's reputation and to that of her client both of whom were owned a duty both legal and moral by your wife, which was broken when she spoke to Eileen Eggington. Ultimately, your wife bears responsibility for the article.

The plain fact of the matter is that whatever her condition, your wife has responsibilities. You say that she has acted entirely in the public interest but that is a matter of judgement, as is evident from what appeared in the Mail on Sunday article, is not to be relied on.

My client echoes the sentiment that a line should be drawn under the period of your wife's employment by my client. However, in order for that to be done, it is necessary that my client is given sufficient comfort that there will be no further disclosure of information concerning her firm or her clients.

This is not an "insensitive intrusion", to use your words, it is simply an assurance that your wife should be able to give and is wholly consistent with the obligations both legal and moral in respect of which she is bound.

I look forward to hearing from you. If you wish to discuss the matter with me on the telephone, please feel free to do so.

22 November 2001

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