The Human Rights Act was hailed as a new beginning for those seeking Justice and the basic rights to life but is that also a mirage?
If we examine the workings of the law in all its aspects we begin to see that it is in fact the criminal and those who work against the people who are protected most by the law. The Human Rights Act concerns itself more with the rights to fair trial and freedom of expression than Justice for the victims of criminal acts.
The laws of the land are intended to protect the individual from wrong-doers and society from its enemies but in practice the exact opposite is true. This is perfectly illustrated in the case of the victims of pesticide poisoning and vaccine damage. To see how this is true let us examine the case of an occupationally exposed worker poisoned by pesticides.
Consider the regulations in this area of law.
Regulations demand that pesticides are proven "safe" before release into the environment but this is obviously not the case in reality for many were withdrawn on safety grounds by the European Union in 2003. Some of those have been used throughout the world and assumed to be "safe" when in reality they are not.
Regulations demand that users are trained and that they follow set procedures which control purchase, mixing, methods of use, protective clothing requirements, methods of disposal, time of harvest after use, washing of machinery, record keeping, reporting of accidents and freedom of information.
The problem is that we know that trained people make serious errors and may even deliberately use the chemicals illegally but there are ways to restrict this and these too are controlled by the regulatory bodies.
Should an individual be poisoned by a pesticide either accidentally or by a deliberate act there are rights afforded under the various acts which should ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment but unfortunately those "rights" too are simply an indication of a utopia which does not exist.
Having been diagnosed and treated the patient has the "right" to access all his medical records but once again this is not always the case. Not only do the medical personnel have the right to alter notes but if they can face criminal charges as the result of releasing those notes then they have the right to withhold them from the patient, even, it seems, if that patient will be harmed by so doing. (see GMC rules.)
So we come back to those who regulate the use of pesticides and it would be thought that being subjected to the same poisons in food and the environment as the rest of us they would be determined to enforce the regulations.
Sadly this too is far from the reality on the ground as it is left to the discretion of those involved as to whether they take action or not and it is usually not, either because of the paperwork or the expense or simply because they can't be bothered and do not want to make waves and risk their pensions or promotion prospects.
The problem with this is that there is then no post-marketing monitoring and the early warning signs that something is wrong will be lost. Worse still the manufacturers are duped into thinking that every change they make has no ill-effects when the products are marketed and each product could potentially be causing ever more harmful effects. With no proper feedback it is impossible for them to know otherwise.
So with all the safety nets removed the victim could become permanently disabled and with governments around the world cutting back on welfare so as to ensure that the wealthy amongst us remain wealthy there is a genuine need for compensation - not only for the need to live but also so that the true dangers of the chemicals can be exposed in order to ensure there will be no more victims. This has been seen with lead, asbestos and many other toxins.
The problem is that both the science and the law are owned by the companies and their allies in Government and the victim has no chance there either.
It should be noted that members of Parliament have stood in both Houses and proclaimed that there is no evidence that repeated low-dose exposures to
organophosphorus pesticides, for example, can cause long-term adverse health effects in man and yet the Act recognising just those effects has been on the Statute books since 1958.
Giving false information to Parliament shows contempt for us all.
Here is an example case, that of Richard Bruce, and we invite you to offer your opinion as to whether you believe that justice has been done.
A similar story could be told by thousands of other poisoned people but this is an example of how a small lie designed to allow an employer to escape prosecution can cause a great scandal reaching to the highest levels of government and the legal system.
As Richard says "If they can do this to me, an occupationally exposed patient with a mass of records going back to the 1970s and numerous supporting medical and scientific opinions, then they can do it to anyone. None of us is safe.
Richard, a farm worker then aged 42 was born, raised, and spent most of his working life on farms in England, UK. After over 20 years, reaching management level on a dairy, beef and arable farm, the farm was sold to an international “farming” family with an agribusiness mentality in November 1991. The new owner accepted all responsibilities for the previous employer but on another of the farms owned by the company In January 1992 Richard was exposed to organophosphorus chemicals that had been stored in the tank of a crop sprayer for some months. He complained at the time that the chemicals should not have been in the tank and that he became ill whenever he used them but the farm staff just laughed. They were not so happy in the following days though as they themselves complained of the smell and suffered headaches and stomach pains. Richard then became very ill with cardio-respiratory, vision, digestive and neurological problems including severe headaches, repetitive thoughts like hallucinations, sweating and great difficulty in breathing.
Having worked all his life with pesticides, exposed on a daily basis to those used in grain stores, he knew that the pesticides had been illegally stored and disposed of also in a manner contrary to regulations.
He became too ill to work after exposures to the chemical and its vapours over a period of days but the doctors did not recognise the symptoms and he was treated with contraindicated drugs, which obviously served to make matters worse. He was not to discover this for some months.
The real cause of his illness was lost for a while as the doctors treated the symptoms, many of which were induced by the drugs they gave him in their efforts to help.
Richard became very sensitive to all manner of chemicals including oils, perfumes and washing powders. Friends who normally smoked could no longer do so in his home because of the effects on his health.
When the doctors had eliminated obvious diagnosis such as asthma and common heart conditions Richard was referred to the Poisons Unit in London where a toxicologist told him he had been poisoned after blood and urine tests. They said more tests were needed urgently and the toxicologist was particular concerned about the vision problems and said that an ophthalmologist, not an optician, was needed - in addition to neurologists and psychologists.
Six months later and those “urgent” tests were still not done but they once again confirmed that the symptoms were those of poisoning and if they had not been then they would not have funded the tests.
Richard was told to report the exposure to the Health & Safety Executive, after threats from the HSE of prosecution for not reporting. Reluctantly, and fearful of making false allegations because at that time he had no information on the toxicity of the chemical, Richard gave the incident report to his employer who then rang him to say that the insurers had given instructions not to report the matter using Richard's account.
Importantly the employer stated that if Richard said "there was an egg cupful in the sprayer" then his staff "would say that there was only a teaspoonful". Richard told him that there was a stain in the sight tube on the sprayer tank, which was caused by the chemical, and this would prove how much liquid was present. Richard was told that the supporting evidence on the sprayer soon disappeared from the farm. The drainage systems were altered and part of the farmyard was sold, making Richard's account look impossible.
Richard was in trouble and was soon to find himself unemployed, sick and in danger of losing his home - an extremely vulnerable situation - but the HSE simply telephoned the employer who, on advice from his insurers, denied all knowledge of the incident.
Records prove that at this point the HSE closed the file on the case
The false claim that there had been no incident then became part of the official record and was to prove very difficult to remove.
Later, after considerable political pressure and although they still admitted to not investigating the incident, the HSE inspector found that there were no records on the farm, as required in law, and the employer had also failed to report the incident, another legal responsibility. In official documents later released to Richard it is clear that the farm staff gave false statements to both the HSE and to the court because their accounts of events do not stand close scrutiny. They even claimed that Richard was not involved with the emptying of the tank and that the chemicals did not have the characteristic smell that every user of it knows and understands. Amazingly the staff involved admitted what happened to Richard's wife and the employer actually told Richard that he did not understand why the men had not been questioned as he was sure they would crack under pressure!
Despite all the obvious breaches of regulation and laws there was no prosecution of the employer or his staff.
What occurred instead was a systematic persecution of Richard by the staff of the Health and Safety Executive who had never even bothered to see him or to ask him for the evidence to support his story.
The employer was asked to name the chemical but failed to do so, which again was in breach of specific pesticide regulations (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health - COSHH). Still no action was taken.
Richard was again informed by toxicologists that he had all the symptoms of poisoning and that he would need the toxicologist's evidence to support him in court - even though at this time no such action had been envisaged. Richard simply wanted to recover and return to the work he loved, but time was to prove that this was impossible and he had to wait a full 18 months for the tests for poisoning.
Richard was by now recognised as permanently disabled and specialists told him he would be unlikely to do his job ever again.
Eventually, after contact with his MP and pressure from his doctor Richard was examined again to ensure that his symptoms fulfilled the criteria of poisoning before he was permitted to be given the series of " expensive tests".
He was then admitted to Guy's hospital London as an in-patient for two weeks.
The tests were sometimes traumatic and an exercise test proved very dangerous and had every muscle in Richard's body in uncontrollable tremor with sweat pouring from him. He was in such a state that the medical staff were trying to obtain advice from their superiors.
Hours later two staff members assisted him back to the ward but the test was later described as “normal” in reports.
A specific “delay” in the heart, as seen in OP patients, cognitive changes and memory problems were also identified.
Richard was seen several times by a psychiatrist during this time and was asked to complete 113 often bizarre questions such as "do you believe in UFOs?" or "do you ever dress sexily?" or "did you ever start fires?" to which any "Yes" answer was considered an indication of mental problems and resulted in questions from another volume. That questionnaire proved to be so controversial with other patients that it was later withdrawn from use but Richard seemed to get through that OK and the psychiatrist stated that he was coping very well with what was a very difficult situation.
Only after several Ophthalmic examinations when the correct testing procedures were not used, and after a preliminary, but inaccurate, report on the case had been issued by a military doctor from the USA, did the ophthalmologist use the correct test and report proven patches and distortions in the visual fields, image retention, and changes in light sensitivity. The ophthalmologist stated that these problems were the result of optic nerve, brain and autonomic nervous system damage. He promised to refer Richard back to a neurologist but that referral never came. Instead the hospital chose an optician to do the next tests without the correct equipment. He declared that there were no vision problems at all and that even if Richard was seen by the hospital a thousand times he would be told the same....
Richard was also recalled to the hospital for an operation in which a muscle sample was taken from his arm. Sadly despite the expense and the pain it was later claimed that insufficient sample had been taken and that it had not been correctly prepared for the required tests, so it was all for nothing.
Richard's GP did not trust the Poisons Unit by this time and suggested that they were simply using Richard's body for research purposes so he obtained a second opinion, which also gave the diagnosis as Chronic OP poisoning.
A senior lecturer in health and safety advised Richard to make a complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman about the HSE and to take legal action against the employer. Richard was reluctant to take either action but decided that he should try to get the truth recognised.
On advice from the recommended “good solicitor” a claim for Industrial Injury Disease C3, poisoning by organophosphorus pesticides, was made.
Eventually a writ for negligence was served on the employer in November 1994. The writ made mention of adverse health effects caused by toxins including, but not exclusively, organophosphates.
By this time the Health and Safety staff were working hard against Richard behind the scenes and they managed to persuade the toxicologist that he could not have been poisoned because the employer had apparently assured them that there had been no chemical and no incident. The fear of losing their jobs and homes had his staff agreeing with him and making statements to that effect.
Two weeks later the Farmers Weekly magazine reported on the serving of Richard's writ. Unknown to Richard at the time the HSE had spotted that report and staff wrote that this was the Ombudsman's case that had "caused us much grief". On a photocopy of the page a senior member of HSE staff had written a note for the EMAS doctor who had failed even to see Richard. The note read "Are you going to spike his guns?" in a direct reference to the serving of the writ - blatant incitement to pervert the course of justice.
Within weeks the doctor asked that question wrote to the defendant in the case and to Richard and his GP stating that there had been no incident and that Richard had not been poisoned - and yet the HSE had never seen him or asked him for any evidence.
Sadly Richard was not to know the real reason for that correspondence for many years, and then only after requests under the Data Protection Act.
The chemical company became involved because details of their chemical were required and they also claimed that the chemical was safe - even though they had no idea what the chemical used in the incident had actually been, their opinion being based on the false information provided to them by the solicitor and others.
In January 1995 Richard was examined for the benefit and sensation losses were found in the limbs but the claim was turned down. He then discovered that a Poisons Unit doctor who had never examined him had written three letters about the case on the same day, just a week after the writ for the negligence action had been served.
To the Benefits Agency he wrote that Richard was a genuine case and fulfilled the criteria for the industrial injury pension, but to Richard's GP he wrote that he had reviewed the case in the light of the Ombudsman's investigation into the HSE and declared that Richard had not been poisoned and that even the symptoms were not consistent with those expected from OPs. This was obviously untrue as some days later the doctor wrote again on special forms that Richard did qualify for the pension, specifically referring to "Causative Agent 4", which is poisoning by organophosphorus pesticides.
On official forms the employer had admitted Richard's 20 years of exposure to OPs and that the sprayer involved in the incident had contained OP chemical.
Sadly he refused to name the chemical.
The doctor's actions were the result of a failed complaint about the HSE’s dishonesty made to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. A third letter was not discovered for another 6 years but the doctor had informed the HSE and it was admitted that the review of the poisoning diagnosis was linked to the false information given to them. Obviously if there had been no incident then there could be no possibility of poisoning.
The doctor had also suggested to the HSE that Richard should have had more psychiatric investigations but if the psychiatrist had really found a problem the doctor would surely have used that evidence at this time - but he didn't.
Richard had to devise experiments which were to prove that the claims about the safety of the chemical after storage in water were false but no matter how hard he tried the authorities refused to acknowledge the facts which he had discovered.
The chemical company, the Health & Safety Executive, and even his own lawyer still claimed, despite evidence to the contrary, that the insecticides "break down rapidly in water" and that therefore Richard could not have been poisoned. One Pesticide Incidents Appraisal Panel member actually stated that there was no evidence of exposure, carefully ignoring the fact that the employer admitted decades of just such exposure. Another, seemingly forgetting the detailed records of pesticide use kept by Richard, actually wrote that Richard had an "elephantine memory"and other HSE staff suggested that Richard thought he had been poisoned by simply "walking on a manhole" in attempts to belittle him. Twice the PIAP declared that Richard could not have been poisoned, despite the diagnosis and the fact that none of those involved knew what the poison had been.
On the advice of his doctor Richard made a complaint to the Health Service Ombudsman about the way the poisons unit had behaved. Sadly the Ombudsman's office restricted his enquiries to the way they handled the correspondence and refused to look into the matter of dishonesty and the financial irregularities.
A member of their staff met with Richard in his home and it was clear that they knew that something was very wrong. There was even an admission that officials believed that organophosphorus chemicals played a part in the BSE crisis but Richard was told that the information was "confidential".
After some considerable time the Ombudsman produced his report and criticised all involved at the Hospital, ordering them to put things right. The Trust refused to undo the damage done by the dishonesty and they also refused to release the full medical records, including the initial blood results that triggered the investigations, despite great efforts by Richard. See details in "What Lies Beneath" at Medical Records and the Law
The Ombudsman has no power of enforcement.
Richard appealed against the denial of benefit but then there was a sham medical with the denial excuse copied word for word from the earlier examiner’s report.
He appealed again.
Richard's "solicitor" was well known in the field and the lawyer was asked to discover what that chemical really was and to obtain the medical records.
He failed on both counts and arranged for Richard to obtain another opinion from a specialist in neurology, at great cost to Richard and his friends who helped finance the flight to Glasgow and hotel expenses.
At this point the “solicitor” attended a meeting at Richard's home with senior HSE staff and Richard was able to help the lawyer in arguments over another case involving the same chemical which was later successfully fought in court but the lawyer turned on Richard when it came to his own case and sided with the HSE.
Eventually the third specialist confirmed that Richard's symptoms were those of poisoning but said that it would be difficult to prove in court because the proper tests were not performed by the doctors in the early stages.
The lawyer then decided to destroy the case by making false accusations that Richard had refused a reasonable settlement offer of just two thousand and five hundred pounds. He gave Richard two weeks to reply but within that time the lawyer wrote in attempts to have the funding removed by the Government's Legal Aid Board.
That "lawyer" was later admitted to be unqualified and had professional links with the HSE via his position as a director of the Pesticides Trust, which also sat on food residues committees.
The case went to another legal firm dealing specifically with such cases.
A new lawyer referred to the first as "shysters" and stated that there had never been an offer to settle and in any event the case was worth far more.
The case, they said, was strong with a high probability of success in court.
However, within months, the case was passed to yet another solicitor within the same firm who repeated the first “solicitor’s” lies and that resulted in the loss of legal aid for the first time.
Richard appealed, only to have several appeal dates cancelled by the then Legal Aid Board at the eleventh hour. Then he was told that his right to legal aid depended on the outcome of the now famous Hill v Tomkins organophosphorus case, which was discussed at the HSE meeting in Richard's home. (Mr Hill later won his case with the solicitor asking Richard to assist but it did not open doors and, if anything, the attempts at cover-up intensified.)
Concerned at the dishonesty encountered Richard reported his experiences to the Select Committee on Agriculture, along with many other scientists and observers who could report similar problems.
Officials worked behind the scenes to undermine the reports of sufferers and a similar situation followed when a member of the House of Lords raised Richard's case in Parliament with that of another whose health was badly affected by the same farmer. What the Hansard report (Lords. 6 Feb 1996 : Column 187) does not detail however is that the Health & Safety Executive not only failed to protect or to properly investigate but they actively worked against those exposed to pesticides, even though in both cases the same farm was involved.
Internal documents were later to show was that some 90 HSE staff actively worked against Richard behind the scenes and that one at least was instructed to undermine the legal case.
The new solicitors worked to regain the legal aid funding and in the meantime Richard had to appear before a Tribunal for the benefit claim in 1997. Sadly he was not at all well due to the traffic fumes and the polishes and perfumes at the hearing but it made little difference because the Benefits Agency papers were not complete or legible. In fact, despite a special visit to Richard's home by a local member of DSS staff during which all the copies of the "Sick Notes" stating OP poisoning as the diagnosis were supplied for the Tribunal those papers and others were still missing from the files.
The Tribunal was halted with the Benefits Agency stating that they would have appealed if Richard had won because of the state of their own papers. The Members unanimously declared that "it was clear to the Tribunal from the opening of the proceedings" that Richard was suffering "neurological problems". They demanded that next time the tribunal should be held at his home with the full documentation which should be clearly legible - but not before he was examined by a specialist neurological unit, which they said would support him.
By the end Richard was so poorly that he had to be assisted from the building.
Instead of using the services of a specialist unit the Benefits Agency sent Richard to a neurologist who had no proper equipment. Sadly that neurologist admitted that he knew little about chemical poisoning and did not understand the difference between chronic and acute poisoning. He had to refer to a book for the symptoms of OP poisoning, but that referred to acute symptoms only.
The neurologist produced a report full of factual errors and, although he had reported finding sensation losses he introduced a new phrase into Richard's medical records - "Somatisation Syndrome" - even though he knew that the doctors who had hidden the truth had been criticised by the Health Service Ombudsman and Richard had managed to obtain hard evidence of damage to various systems in his body including the heart, lungs, brain and vision.
"Somatisation" became the battle cry of the Secretary of State and all officials under him.
Eventually legal aid was granted but only on condition that Richard's case was included in a group action involving claims about the harm caused by Sheep Dip, which was formed long after his writ had been served. All OP cases were then controlled centrally from Legal Aid Offices in Reading.
All protests fell on deaf ears despite the Legal Aid Board also saying Richard's case was not one involving sheep dip.
The solicitors had been suggesting that a new medical opinion should be sought but time had passed and Richard suggested that before they did that they should obtain the full hospital medical records and the details of the actual chemical involved in the tank mixture. They said that they would but they failed to arrange the promised medical appointment for further tests for the court case and failed to obtain the requested vital information. They blamed lack of sufficient funding.
Richard was not permitted to join the group for medical tests because he was not a victim of the OP sheep dips like the others - but he still had to pay towards the costs of those tests even though his case was not permitted to benefit from any advantageous scientific findings.
Perversely this was lucky really as it turned out that the often painful procedures were to lead nowhere as the results were never released and the costs were held against the victims.
Time passed but still there was no action. The controversial nature of the cases resulted in a falling out amongst the lawyers and all the cases were transferred to another firm.
This firm had close connections with the new Prime Minister but the Government was a co-defendant in many of the cases and it was strange to see that the lawyers chose experts with links to the industry to examine their clients.
There was little choice but to agree to the change in solicitors since one of the senior partners was also influential within the Legal Aid Board. Again promises were made to obtain the medical records and chemical details but now it was 1999 and very little had progressed since the writ had been served in 1994.
By now Richard was too ill to travel and his wife, Shirley, was undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy for a highly malignant environmentally induced breast cancer. (Specialists confirmed the environmental origin and the timing given for the cancer development suspiciously pointed to the use of the insecticide Lindane in the fields around their home)
It was interesting that the chemotherapy had a similar effect on her body as the poisons had done in Richard's case and Shirley was told that this was not surprising but she should be reassured because hers was a controlled and reversible form of poisoning whereas Richard's was uncontrolled and irreversible.
Shirley has also become very sensitive to perfumes and washing powders but luckily she is not so badly affected as her husband and can still go to shops, cinemas and family parties etc., but sadly without Richard's company.
By this time the solicitor who visited Richard's home admitted that they had been grossly misled about his case which she said was very strong and was compounded by breaches in employment law. The lawyers had then calculated in Court documents that the compensation wrote that damages due to him should be in the region of 800,000 UK pounds, including the lost pensions, wages and the costs of medication and travel - but with no mention of the harm to his health and family. Richard joked that with the government denying the dangers of the chemicals then he would be lucky to get a penny in compensation.
The solicitor went away with a considerable amount of extra evidence and the next Richard heard was that one of the hospitals, which had confirmed poisoning, now denied having any record that he had attended.
This was strange given that they had issued a report and he had provided receipts for the flights, hotel bills, and copies of the associated appointment and report, but none of that helped the situation.
Then all the claimants in the group received notification from the solicitors firm that a barrister’s opinion on the group action was that no case could succeed. Richard wrote complaining that there were serious errors of fact in his case but all protests were ignored. Barristers wrote that they were confident that he had no case.
Luckily again for him Richard had avoided the industry-linked experts because it was later to transpire that they would not support the victims and often misrepresented the facts.
He did not escape the attentions of dishonest medical examiners though for he faced them as the result of his claim for the benefit which would supposedly be his right in law because he was poisoned at work, had medical backing for the diagnosis, and had, with his employers contributed to the National Insurance scheme.
Sadly by now the influence of the Health and Safety over his case had reached the highest levels in the land and their efforts to have him seen as a deluded troublemaker were succeeding.
Richard, along with many other sufferers of poisoning by the deadly organophosphorus chemicals, produced submissions for the Committee on Toxicity investigation into the chemicals. Some of those whose health permitted it travelled to London from far distances in order to speak to the Committee face-to-face in their efforts to help prevent others suffering as they had but the Committee failed to acknowledge the known science and instead of limiting the use of the chemicals they simply called for more research.
Their report and appendices are available on the web. Richard wrote suggesting that the Committee had failed in its duty to protect the public and that it was wrong of them to have printed only his full address in the report but there were plenty of excuses for hiding the truth.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer herself wrote to Richard and stated that the COT Committee had indeed been given access to the raw data upon which the 1958 Industrial Injury benefit PD C3 - poisoning by organophosphorus compounds - was based but even though this was admitted she refused the challenge to make that data known to the public, even though it undermined the COT claim that there were no long-term effects from repeated low dose exposures.
Another Tribunal was called in respect to the Benefit claim but this time the members were obviously intent on hiding the truth. Again the Benefits Agency papers were incomplete but because of the costs to the taxpayer caused by any delay Richard and his representatives were persuaded to continue, although only on the condition that they would be permitted to enter any supporting evidence into the proceedings. During the hearing at his home they appeared supportive, and suggested that Richard was 80% disabled and that other benefits, such as those involving solvents, might also apply in his case.
The problem was that one of the members was linked to the hospital controlling the Poisons Unit and every record that demonstrated physical problems with the heart or vision, or whatever, was declared as irrelevant by the Tribunal members.
Medical examination found no vibration sense at all in the ankles and loss of sensation in the limbs but when Richard felt no vibrations when testing the senses in his forehead he suspected that trickery was being employed.
All the evidence was ignored and the Tribunal declared “somatisation syndrome” as the cause of the symptoms.
Strangely the Tribunal quoted the wise words of Judge Denning in that any benefit of doubt should go to the claimant but despite that quote they deliberately misquoted specialist opinion implying that asthma was mentioned, when in fact it was the effects of pesticides, in order to deny Richard the benefits to which he was entitled.
It was clear that the officials refused to recognise the problems of chemical sensitivity induced by the poison despite medical support for the diagnosis.
Richard's specialist suggested that the Tribunal had found evidence of peripheral neuropathy and it was about this time that the "experts" attempted to have the PD C3 criteria altered so that only those who had peripheral neuropathy could qualify. It is not known if those recommendations were introduced but Richard was later assured that the qualification criteria had not been changed. Richard was able to check the vibration sense himself when he attended one of Shirley's cancer checkups and the doctors had left one of the neurological "tuning forks" on the table in the room. Again Richard was unable to feel anything in either ankle. He appealed against the decision again on the grounds that the Tribunal had been conducted unlawfully.
That would take him before a Commissioner and Richard's “representative“ helped him to prepare a referenced statement and some 50 pages of supporting evidence for the court hearing. The "representative" was asked if he would need a solicitor to argue the case but he told Richard that it was all straightforward and that he would be able to do the work. The "representative" took the papers away to copy them for the hearing but cancelled an appointment to go through them with Richard because the Health & Safety Executive had decided to "inspect their office to ensure that they complied with HSE regulations" - the office was just one room in a block.
Sadly only when they arrived in the courtroom before the judge did his “representative” stand up and say that Richard was actually representing himself. Too shocked to think straight Richard opened the folder of papers placed before him and discovered that the statement had been altered. There were no references - and there were none of the pages of evidence, not one.
The perfumes and travelling had taken their toll - so much so that a court official had taken Richard to the court room via the lift even before the hearing started and during the hearing the Commissioner actually offered to read Richard's statement for him because he was having obvious difficulties.
His observation was that it was "obvious" that Richard "was suffering with something very nasty" and he expressed concern at the delays in Richard's case. Those delays are almost entirely due to the dishonesty of the defendant, Government agencies, chemical companies and Hospital Trusts who, it seems, must be acting in breach of the rules of disclosure.
Richard faced the judge and the government's barrister with little support and was able to show that many of the reports before the court were grossly inaccurate. The judge even criticised the toxicologist who had written the two reports of opposite opinion
on the case on the same day suggesting that this was "totally unacceptable".
The Commissioner refused however to address issues of conflict of interest, or the rules of evidence, or the false statements deliberately introduced into the files. Incredibly the Commissioner referred to Richard's Civil Action and suggested that it should be thrown out due to the delays in proceeding.
The Commissioner wrote in his decision report that Richard was “exceedingly unwell” when he appeared before him but was “well-represented throughout”. The Commissioner felt that he could not overturn the Tribunal decision and yet this is an integral part of the appeals procedure and Commissioners are there to ensure that decisions are both correct and fair.
The Somatisation claim stood as fact.
The Commissioner ignored the evidence which showed that the neurologist had provided a false report and his own report "reluctantly" upheld the Tribunal's decision.
None of the Benefit hearings or medical examiners had taken into account the fact that Richard's exposures had been unusually high for many years or that he had been exposed to the toxins on a daily basis and that this had left him vulnerable to even a small further exposure to approved chemicals, let alone the exposures in the incident and the repeated exposures to both the released chemical and its vapours after the spillage.
Richard was to appeal this decision but events overtook him.
By now the lawyers had decided that they did not have evidence that any OPs could cause long-term harm to human health, despite the Industrial Disease, which recognises that very fact having been on the statute books since 1958 and the ms17 paper and the latest version admitting the problem.
Richard wrote to the Judge to inform him that the solicitors were misrepresenting the case and the Judge acknowledged the letter and thanked Richard for notifying the court in a telephone call.
The lawyers had been ordered by the Legal Services Commission to use a GP specialising in OP poisoning to write medico/legal reports for each of the claimants. Richard provided the GP with copies of medical records and other information (although at first an 11-page fax to the GP seems to have failed to reach its destination despite transaction receipts and identical timings and numbers on the phone bill). The GP also supported the diagnosis and wrote a report accordingly.
The Royal Colleges of Physicians and Psychiatrists stated clearly that GPs should have control of both the diagnosis and treatment of organophosphorus poisoning but the court then threw out all the GP's reports on the grounds that she was insufficiently qualified, even though she is a recognised authority and was ordered to do the work by the Legal Services Commission.
At this point Richard had almost decided to give up the struggle but the solicitors had attempted to “blackmail” the claimants into giving up by saying that Richard and others should sign away the right to take any OP case to court, seemingly for life, or face the full costs of the defendants, which would run into millions.
Although each "Form of consent" was apparently worded differently, very few of the plaintiffs signed.
Knowing that the defendant had lied, that "experts" had produced misleading statements, and that the solicitors had apparently still not obtained the name of the chemicals or the full medical records Richard refused to sign away his case. At this the solicitors phoned him repeatedly in attempts to persuade him but when he still refused he was told that the lawyers "would have to find another way". The solicitors had promised to answer any questions from the plaintiffs but failed to do so.
Richard once again informed the Judge of the deliberate failure to properly represent the case but he later discovered that the lawyers on both sides HAD known about the illegal mix of chemicals from court papers but despite Richard's repeated requests he had never been told.
The lawyers dropped the cases having first failed to put the medical evidence before the court at the agreed times. The claimants' own solicitors requested that Legal Aid should be stopped. Richard wrote to the Legal Services Commission to explain the problems with the case but the evidence in all his submissions was ignored.
A new firm "rescued" the cases and Richard went with them in order to appeal the case under what they called the Part 24 Applications from the defendants and his luck changed for a while.
A paper from the new solicitors stated that he must have had no argument against an expert for the defence because he had not challenged the report. Having not seen the report Richard asked for a copy.
There, in the defendant’s own report, was all the evidence he needed to support his negligence case. The employer’s staff had mixed two organophosphorus grain store chemicals in that tank and yet the defendant’s expert said that they had followed the label instructions - totally untrue. Even the science was wrong.
Richard realised that he had been totally misled about the dangers of the chemical. It had not been a simple dilution of a grain store chemical but an illegal mixture, as confirmed in writing by government officials and both chemical companies.
It was therefore a criminal act and would strengthen his case.
Another report came to him from a doctor, again for the defence, who had never even spoken to him and who based his entire case on inaccurate information and upon records from the hospital's toxicology department.
Both reports were destroyed with scientific facts by Richard in good time for the court hearing.
The case now had evidence of a criminal act, of perjury and inaccurate statements given by "expert" witnesses. Richard had the foresight to send supporting medical evidence to the court before the deadline missed by the previous solicitors and so he firmly believed that his case was solid. This view was strengthened by the firm opinion of the court that cases of negligence against employers should be allowed to go ahead.
Richard's lawyers however did not pass the information to the courts and in a court hearing the defence claims that his case was “exceedingly weak” went completely unchallenged. The Judge singled out Richard's case and denied his right to appeal that decision. The lawyers even suggested that he was taking action against the wrong employer.
The court hearing was unbalanced with the defence team fielding more than half a dozen top barristers for a week. Employer defendants, backed by the Farmer's Union Insurance, were supported by the chemical companies and their top teams.
Unbelievably Richard's case was thrown out by the judge on the grounds that it would be "an abuse of process" to allow it to continue to trial.
Richard asked the lawyers what evidence they had placed before the judge but they refused to tell him, saying that scientists had claimed to be able to safely drink what he had been exposed to. One scientist withdrew that claim immediately when notified of some of Richard's experimental results.
Unknown to Richard there actually was an appeal. He suspects that this was to ensure that all doors to justice were closed to him for he was not notified of the appeal until long after the time permitted to appeal the decision of the Appeal Judge, which of course was against his case.
He reported all the legal firms to the Law Society and all the barristers to the Bar Council but they refused even to investigate the reports of dishonesty.
Richard was advised to report the fraudulent actions to the Trading Standards Office, who referred him to the Law Society, Bar Council and the Police.
The Police were informed and they listed the following potential criminal offences in Richard's case.
1 An unlawful mix of chemicals in 1992 causing disability.
2 Fraudulent use of public money by officials.
3 Fraudulent use of public money paid to hospitals in order to obtain a diagnosis.
4 Fraudulent money paid to lawyers and barristers who failed to properly represent the case.
5 Health & Safety Executive, Basingstoke, placed false information on its files in order to avoid censure from the ombudsman for failing to discover the illegal mixture of chemicals.
6 The Health & Safety Executive put pressure on toxicologists to withdraw a diagnosis of poisons.
7 An unqualified solicitor put false evidence before the Legal Aid Board.
8 Lawyers who knew of the illegal mixture failed to notify you and, therefore, deprived you of the opportunity for treatment.
9 The lawyers introduced false evidence into court.
10 The lawyers failed to use money provided to them to obtain supporting evidence.
11 Barristers made false statements to court.
12 Scientists and medical experts mislead the courts.
However the Police stated that they would not investigate as they would have to justify the expense and resources would have to be taken away from other vital work.
Richard reported the facts to the Judges and supported his request for justice with a series of case references that demonstrated that claimants with similar legal difficulties had been allowed to take their cases to court with successful outcomes. (see text here)
To his surprise, not only did the judges dismiss his letters as unimportant but Richard was also informed that he had made things more difficult for himself by his actions and that he had undermined his own case, even that he had quoted too many precedents. (see text here)
Even the Court staff suggested that the Police should be involved but it seems that no action can ever be taken on what are said to be the "very serious crimes" of perjury and perversion of justice unless a judge orders that an investigation should take place.
In his attempts to have the truth about his case officially recognised Richard was advised to make a new claim for the PD C3 benefit, which is supposedly granted to those poisoned by organophosphorus chemicals in the course of their work.
The Benefits Agency claimed that Richard could either claim for accident or disease, but not both. This was strange because their own rules state that even if the claimant does not realise that a disease is implicated the possibility of disease takes precedence in the decision making process.
Eventually, after lost forms and more correspondence the incident that caused Richard's illness was at last recognised as an Industrial Accident.
The Benefits agency wanted to make Richard travel to a mainland venue for his medical examination but his GP reported that it would be most unfair and detrimental to his health to make him travel so far and so an appointment was made for Richard to attend the local offices. Richard's representative attended with him but the doors were locked and when eventually they saw the doctor they were told that the appointment had been cancelled and the papers returned to head office. The local doctor was really concerned at the state of Richard's health and phoned head office only to find that the files had been lost. Although all that was required was an examination to determine the level of disability the doctor said that she was not qualified to do the work and so she arranged for another appointment and, because of Richard's condition she insisted that a domiciliary visit was arranged.
Armed with the additional evidence about the illegal mixture he was examined again in 2003.
Instead of the arranged doctor a stand-in arrived at Richard's home on the day. The replacement Benefits Agency doctor was eventually shown to have been involved in the denial of Richard's claim before and it seems that the case file was in his possession when it was "lost". However when in Richard's home he seemed very understanding and even stated that Richard fulfilled the poisoning criteria, that his case represented the typical “Fragile Egg" scenario, and that all he wanted was Natural Justice.
After finding that Richard could feel no vibrations at all in his ankles the doctor stated several times that Richard had peripheral neuropathy and that the only treatment available was that already being given by the GP and treating specialist.
Richard was badly affected by the doctor's aftershave and his blood pressure was so high that the doctor suggested that Richard should see his GP as soon as possible.
The doctor volunteered the information that Richard would have to be extremely careful if he ever required an operation because of the danger of drugs such as anaesthetics. "You could snuff it" he had said.
The Doctor recognised the importance of the recognition of poisoning because of those dangers and promised to mention it in his report.
Although he was fully aware of the blatant dishonesty of the Poisons Unit doctor he stopped writing his report by his own admission to seek advice from that source and from the Internet. The poisons unit doctor then used his influence once again to undermine Richard's claim.
The Benefits Agency Doctor then reported, in his altered report, that he had not found any peripheral neuropathy and quoted the Poisons Unit doctor as saying that Richard had not been poisoned but suffered from “a mind set that believes in poisoning”. Somatisation by another term.
The Benefits Agency admitted that the incident caused Richard's disability for life but say he has not been poisoned and the doctor's assessment of 55% disability not only failed to include the proven cardio-respiratory and neurological effects but was also reduced to 30% by the examiner on the false grounds that the bone and joint problems, the vision abnormalities, and the Multiple Chemical Sensitivity were “unrelated to the incident” and unknown in poisoning.
Richard's specialist described the decision as "ludicrous" and so Richard requested that the false statements were withdrawn. The Benefits Agency refused so he reported the two doctors to the General Medical Council who said that the Benefits Agency was responsible for the investigation.
They claimed to find nothing wrong and so Richard wrote again to the GMC but again they refused to investigate. Then they too refused to respond to letters and emails.
Richard appealed again on the grounds that relying on false statements was actually illegal but the Appeals Service threatened to "make things worse" for him if he went ahead with the appeal.
Seeking a just outcome Richard did appeal and he repeatedly asked the officials involved to remove the false statements from the files. They refused.
Richard wrote a report for the National Audit Office in which he reported the dishonesty and potentially fraudulent actions that he and others had encountered within the legal system, the Benefits Agency, the Department for Work and Pensions, and the foreign-owned private companies involved in the medical examinations and assessments. (See the report here)
To his surprise the National Audit Office stated that Richard's report reinforces some of our concerns about the decision making process, but no action was taken to investigate the fraud other than refusing to approve the Accounts from the Department for Work and Pensions - again.
In 2004 Richard found a company willing to test samples of diluted insecticide that had been stored for years. One of the chemicals involved in the incident had been mixed for use in a local grain store by a friend and then stored for 5 years.
The test showed that the organophosphorus insecticide had not broken down at all, even though the testing company itself had held the sample for a period equivalent to two official half-lives. In fact the diluted chemical had doubled in concentration from the expected level of the original dilution.
Concerned about the implications in the food supply, and for occupational exposures, Richard notified the authorities because this chemical has been added to harvested whole grains since the mid 1970s. Apparently some processors, such as biscuit makers, have insisted that farmers add the chemical before they sell them the grain but the authorities, including the Food Standards Agency, claim that the chemical is not considered to be a food additive and does not therefore need to be declared as present on food labels. Questions asked of ministers have so far gone unanswered.
The Benefits Agency denied that the scientifically proven information was of any relevance despite their earlier reasons for the denial of the poisoning diagnosis being that the chemical would have broken down by the time of the incident.
By now the date for the Benefit Appeal was drawing near and Richard realised that to defeat the dishonesty he would require legal representation.
Richard could find no solicitor or barrister willing to help and the local Citizen's Advice Bureau was unable to assist. A local Law Centre actually claimed to be unable to find anyone with sufficient skills for the task. (Both organisations are reported to have contracts with the Government).
The Legal Services Directory claimed that they had no less than four legal firms in the area that did such work. None of them did but one kindly offered to act as a witness at the Tribunal and after examining the files suggested that the Tribunal proceedings should be recorded on video camera and wrote to the Tribunal Service to ask if they would be doing the recording or Richard. There was no reply.
The solicitor also suggested that Richard created a file containing the supporting evidence for a paper in which he had listed all the supporting and opposing medical opinions. He produced three copies with almost 200 pages in each. One copy was for himself as a record, one was for the Tribunal, and one was for the solicitor.
On 19th November 2004 the solicitor arrived before the Tribunal members and Richard asked if they should seek permission before recording with the borrowed camera. She said that it should begin before they arrived. When the Tribunal members arrived they had a nurse with them. Perhaps they were expecting what happened?
The only papers available were those in Richard's newly created file of evidence. The Tribunal was told that if they continued on the basis of the false statements then it would be illegal. They continued.
An hour and a half into the proceedings the Chairman noticed the video camera and cried “Contempt of court”. Richard said that they should take him to court then, because placing false statements in the file is also illegal, but the Chairman was unmoved and said that even the notes taken by the solicitor were contempt of court. The solicitor wrote no more notes.
The medical examiner was described as an "expert" in organophosphorus poisoning but the chairman refused to allow Richard to know his qualifications or to question him on his expertise. (It was later discovered that the doctor had written a paper about OP sheep dip in which it was suggested that the stress of work and not the chemicals was the cause of the symptoms reported)
The medical examination showed that the loss of vibration sense was found in the wrists as well as in the ankles but Richard was too ill due to the effort taken and the effects of the perfumes they were wearing - despite the continuous use of his carbon-filtered air purifier. Shirley and the nurse even had to assist Richard in getting across the room. His eyes and nose were streaming and his breathing was laboured and when the doctor asked what effects the perfumes were having Richard said "Can't you see?".
The gagging reflex was also absent when the doctor poked a spatula down Richard's throat.
The nurse even had to help him undress but she was uncomfortable with the situation and Shirley was crying for much of the time because of the way they were treating him.
The Tribunal members were indifferent to it all and left with the nurse after telling the solicitor that they would probably grant the PD C3 [confirming poisoning] but leave the level of disability at 30%.
The solicitor removed the tape from the video recorder “for safe keeping” and the defendant in Richard's civil case arrived before he had recovered enough to get fully dressed.
The ex-employer expressed his surprise at the state Richard was in and gave the solicitor a lift back to her offices in the nearby town.
In late December 2004 Richard received a letter from a senior partner in the solicitor’s firm in which he stated that the Regional Chairman of the Tribunal Service had contacted him and repeated the Contempt of Court charge but suggested that they would not take action providing that the tape was sent to them.
Without any contact with Richard the tape had been duly dispatched and permission given to destroy it.
Richard protested and was told that he could be given a replacement tape if he wrote and asked for one. That was hardly the point given that it was destruction of evidence.
Exactly 8 weeks to the day after the Tribunal hearing Richard received the decision. The Tribunal reported that at no time had he suffered with OP poisoning. Somatisation stands.
They claimed, contrary to the known science, that medical science does not support a link between Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and exposure to OPs.
They said there was no evidence of a sufficient exposure to OPs (forgetting the years of daily exposure) and they claimed that the symptoms listed are those experienced later than following the exposure.
Richard's symptoms are in fact still much the same as those that followed the incident, although some of them are slowly worsening and the list of symptoms was given to the various doctors in writing at every stage in the 13 years since the exposure.
In any event the PD C3 paper recognises both acute and chronic symptoms as triggering qualifications for the benefit and so the arguments are again spurious.
Presumably in attempts to belittle Richard in the eyes of those who read such reports they stated that it was Richard who was "crying" for much of the time and that he had refused to answer questions when in fact he had been angry at their attitude but had none-the-less made every effort to give as much information as possible and it had been his wife who had been tearful.
Once again they admitted that the incident caused Richard's illness, that his symptoms are real and are consistent with poisoning, and that the symptoms are those of poisoning - but they still insist that Richard has not been poisoned.
Richard wrote to ask for the decision to be set aside, requested full reports accompanied by "Statements of Truth" (which were not provided even when that request was made to the Secretary of State, who ignored the letters) and he reported the deception to various bodies that supposedly protect patients and uphold the law but all to no avail.
Others who had suffered the effects of organophosphorus poisons were angry at the way Richard had been treated by the Tribunal. They persuaded him to subject himself to yet another test. This time the test was very expensive and was to be performed by an internationally respected expert in organophosphorus poisoning. Richard's GP was informed and he agreed to arrange for the blood samples to be taken. Fellow sufferers paid for the test and Richard and his family funded the transport of the vital samples, which had to be arranged like a military operation because timing was critical.
The local hospital took the blood and spun it to extract the blood serum. That was then packed into pre-frozen vials and dispatched by ferry and courier to the Breakspear Hospital in Hemel Hempstead, UK. From there it was repackaged and sent by air to the USA.
Some weeks later the result confirmed brain and neurological damage caused by Organophosphorus chemicals and solvents. Results suggested just what Richard and his specialists had reported for years in that the damage indicated "Chronic" poisoning by the chemicals.
All those who had supported Richard, despite the pressures on them, were now vindicated and all those who condemned them were shown to be wrong.
Richard advised the Health & Safety Executive, the doctors, and the Appeals Service but all claimed that the new evidence made no difference to their position.
It was extremely unlikely that they would retreat from their position and Richard decided to call an end to the battle, at least in direct confrontation with obviously dishonest officials.
A member of the House of Lords was angry at the way he had been treated and asked Richard to instigate a Judicial Review of the decision. Richard had read that time limit rules were used by the officials to prevent successful applications for Judicial Review.
Quote: "In the case of Judicial Review, which is the only route available to litigants against misuse and abuse of powers, the most common excuse used in dismissing cases is the discretionary powers of the Judge using Order 53 which has its authority from Section 31 (6) of the Supreme Court Act 1981 and states:
"An application for leave to apply for judicial review shall be made promptly and in any event within three months from the date..."
At first glance it appears to give the litigant in person 3 months when actually it does not! What it actually means is that the judge has at his discretion the power to decide whether the action is "prompt" and after 3 months gives him the discretion whether he considers it "appropriate".
In one very complicated case, brought by a litigant-in-person, the Courts decided that 15 days was not prompt - the matter is before the ECHR." End Quote.
Richard knew that this Judicial Review process would not be an easy task but a solicitor recommended to him promised his full support and that of the member in the Lords. He was not alone but he would have to do the preparation of the case himself. Later Richard was to learn that it is the preparation for Judicial Review that is the most difficult.
The solicitor promised to look through Richard's papers to ensure that all was in order and that he had complied with all the requirements.
Time was short and Richard was not well. Sorting the papers was difficult and the suggestion from the solicitor that he should send the thousands of papers involved in the case became impractical because of his health and the enormous amount of photocopying that would be required. (The papers would have to be copied several times for the court, the two parties to be served, and to keep accurate copies for himself)
Richard decided to limit the papers to just 150 pages, with all the relevant evidence in a form easily read by a judge. He sent copies of that and all the other papers to the solicitor and paid extra to get there in plenty of time. Silence followed.
Richard telephoned the solicitor and he is sure that the parcel was opened for the first time during that call. The solicitor advised changing wording on the form but said that otherwise everything was fine and told Richard to send the papers to the court.
Richard read through the requirements again and, just in time realised that all the pages had to be paginated and indexed for the court. He had already produced an index of the papers with evidence, diagnosis, supporting opinion, and regulations, all in separate sections, but now he had to re-number them all, but luckily the order did not need to be changed.
That done he dispatched the papers by recorded delivery well within the required time limits
A month later the papers were returned by the court with the suggestion that he had failed to supply one letter. He phoned the court and explained that the files had been checked by a solicitor and was allowed to re-submit the files, which were duly sealed by the court and served on the Treasury Solicitor and the Solicitors for the Department of Works and Pensions.
The former telephoned Richard to say that the latter claimed that they would act in the case and that the Treasury Solicitors should pass all their papers to the DWP. The latter denied that they were the correct defendants. More duplicity.
Those who wish to view the list of documents submitted for the Judicial Review case may view them here.
The DWP claimed that Richard had made his application "out of time" and that he had "no evidence" to support his claim. The solicitor knew that there was irrefutable evidence of deception and perversion of justice and that because of the nature of that evidence Richard needed legal protection before he could use it in his case.
The request for Judicial Review was denied.
The solicitor told Richard to appeal against that decision, still promising his support.
Richard appealed and the solicitor sent legal aid forms but legal aid was once again denied.
The solicitor claimed that he would need a barrister's opinion before he could appeal for legal aid but he gave the newly qualified barrister, who is part of the Prime Minister's wife's Chambers, incomplete and inaccurate information and as a result the chances of success were given as less than 50%. The solicitor withdrew his support for Richard's case.
Richard asked both the solicitor and the barrister to recognise the facts of the case but he was ignored and more sarcastic comments were made by the solicitor, who suggested that Richard should end his fight and be content for, after all, he was in receipt of Social Security Benefits.
In fact the solicitor spent half an hour on the telephone claiming that it was only Richard's "view" that he had a case but when challenged he finally admitted that it was not the alleged "weakness" of Richard's case that was the problem but he was being prevented from taking the case forward by "the bent system" - his words.
Richard wrote to the Court suggesting that there must be a hearing if the reputation of the legal system is not to be tarnished. The court staff told him that they wanted to hear the case but this was not possible without representation and he is too ill to represent himself.
Publicity was needed before the case could move on - or so he was told, but the press are not interested.
Richard tried various legal advisers from specialists in benefit claims and "No-Win-No-Fee" companies, to the Public Law Project and "Liberty", the self-proclaimed Human Rights lawyers, who reportedly claim to act for those abused by government at no charge because the Government have to pay when they win, but they neither answer phone messages nor emails.
Richard and his efforts to expose the truth had been abandoned - or it seemed.
He was not to be left in peace however.
To the surprise and heartache of its supporters the British "Labour" Government decided to attack the vulnerable who are ill enough to be on benefits by changing the rules in efforts to force those people back to work. Perhaps they had to find more money to pay for their illegal wars and the ever-flowing tide of illegal immigrants into Britain, which must add enormous costs in translators and multi-language documents in addition to the rising crime rates and housing costs. Whatever the reason the vulnerable are an easier target than the rich tax-avoiders.
Richard found himself caught up in this benefit review and he was subjected to yet another medical examination. Despite the letter in the possession of the benefits agency warning of the dangers to Richard's health posed by perfumes the doctor arrived at Richard's home wearing an extremely powerful aftershave and Richard's health deteriorated rapidly.
When the doctor left Shirley had to open all the doors and windows for hours and wash everything the doctor had been close too, including Richard's clothes and all the covers on the chairs. Still the smell lingered.
Richard wrote a letter of complaint and eventually there was an apology and Richard was deemed to need a carer to look after him and so was awarded extra benefit to reflect those needs.
In the meantime the campaign by Georgina Downsfor more controls over pesticides had been gaining pace and Richard and Shirley had been included in the video of evidence presented by Ms Downs. Unfortunately it seems that those responsible for public safety failed to look at all the evidence and the Government refused to take action.
Instead they asked the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution to examine the issue.
Richard, like many others, submitted information to the Commission (view here) and was interviewed in person, as were two GPs from his local practice.External link to the website of Georgina Downs.
The Royal Commission criticised the regulatory and monitoring systems and called for greater controls on pesticides but the Government's advisers once again refused to take action, preferring instead to suggest that they were dealing only with "perceived risks" and not with genuine chemical effects.
The determination to hide the truth, the science, and the confirmed cases of poisoning, knows no bounds.
Richard discovered that a new body had been established called the "Office for Judicial Complaints", which oversees Judges, Tribunals and coroners.(External link here)
Richard wrote to them to ask if they could re-affirm his faith in the justice system. They refused to help and instead suggested that Richard should make his complaints to the Law Society, the Bar Council or bizarrely to the Office for Judicial Complaints!
Richard wrote that he had already tried all three and that all refused to assist.
Interestingly the emails were sent via the Department of Constitutional Affairs, which was involved with the benefits appeals and of which the Lord Chancellor wrote that the Legal Services Commission spends much of the budget allocated to that department....
Inexplicably the Benefits Agency refuses to recognise Richard's illness as resulting from long-term exposure to OPs and yet in the Civil Case the excuse for allowing the defendant to escape liability for Richard's illness was that it was actually caused by that very same long-term exposure and not by the exposures during and following release of the illegally mixed chemicals.
With no support and still trying to have the case heard in court Richard persisted in his efforts to persuade the court staff that his claim was just and that official deception was the cause of all the expense and delays. He was advised to complete a PF244 form which they claimed would automatically trigger and investigation into the perversion of justice but the form appeared to be for Asylum seekers and not relevant to his case. He sought advice from all manner of people who should have known but none would tell him how such a form should be completed or what evidence should be supplied with it. Although he had been very reluctant to get into the whole Judicial Review issue, not only because of the expense and the tremendous strain and work involved but also because he believed that the system is corrupt to the core he had been assured of the support of the Member of the House of Lords and the solicitor but no advice was forthcoming.
Eventually a hearing date was given and Richard was able to persuade them to allow a video linked hearing because he would very likely be unable to speak if he had to travel to London because of the effects on his health and his lack of representation. It was suggested that the video link be made with the local courts but at one stage those involved appeared to believe that Richard was in prison and that the prison service would need to be involved. Eventually the video link was arranged to be performed via the local Crown Court. The full Judicial Review list of papers and copies of considerable correspondence with the High Court can be viewed here.
In the meantime the HSE offered Richard the chance to put forward new evidence and so he sent them the false statement produced by the insurers to avert an HSE investigation and prosecution, plus the reasons why it was false, using their own statements and admissions by the defendant. He also provided the analysis demonstrating that OPs do not break down rapidly in water as claimed, in addition to the sequential cholinesterase measurements that confirmed exposure with a 35% reduction even 6 months after the incident, plus GP Med 4 reports on the poisoning diagnosis with no alternative, supported by the Professor Abou-Donia confirmation of OP damage.
The HSE claimed that they have added the information to the file but they refused to remove their invented nonsense, which they used to get the diagnosis withdrawn and the case stopped, unless ordered to do so by a court. Richard remembered how the members of the HSE's Pesticide Incidents Appraisal Panel had also stated that their decision that poisoning was not even likely was not one that should be relied upon but that it was something that should be decided in court - and had then placed false information on the record to prevent Richard's case getting to court....
Richard's reported facts could be supported beyond any doubt - but still all officials involved persisted in claiming that his
case was weak. The reasons for such an opinion are unfathomable as there is ample evidence to show that the Tribunals not only erred in law but actually acted illegally by falsifying statements and deliberately misleading the court.
So bad does the case appear to independent eyes that one court official was so shocked that the matter was actually reported to Max Clifford - but he was not interested, presumably because of his close ties with government, and the official disappeared from the radar, never to be heard of again!
Richard needed to talk to the judge directly and he had been told that the judge had to listen to him, especially as a litigant in person. The solicitor who had started it all promised to be at the hearing to offer support although he was not permitted to talk in court on Richard's behalf. Richard did not believe him and his failure to respond to emails and phone messages had not exactly instilled confidence.
Richard gave the matter some thought and decided that just in case the video link went down or he was unable to speak because of his condition he would send the judge a statement together with arguments countering those of the Secretary of State plus supporting evidence to show that the tribunal knew very well that it had acted unlawfully.
Richard asked the High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight to witness the statement and showed him the pile of evidence that had been ignored. He was astounded and willingly offered his support. Richard then sent the papers by recorded delivery with a specific request that the judge should be in possession on this evidence on the 5th September and delivery on the 6th September was confirmed by Royal mail. The copying and postage cost a lot of money and many days of work. Richard expected it to be ignored but hoped for honesty.
A couple of days before the hearing a friend of a friend telephoned Richard to say that he was a solicitor and had heard about the problem and that Richard required some help. He informed Richard that preparation of any Judicial Review case is the most important and most difficult part of the entire JR process. Despite having been a practicing and qualified solicitor for over 7 years he admitted that he could probably not begin a Judicial Review process himself and had never been
involved in anything at that level.
Sadly Richard didn't think the solicitor who had persuaded him to take that action knew much about it either as even after he had supposedly checked the papers Richard had discovered by chance that they had to be consecutively numbered and in triplicate. Had he not discovered that there would have been no chance at all even before he started and that was without the attempts to undermine the case by using a newly qualified barrister at the Matrix Chambers as the means to have Legal Aid denied by creating an opinion based on much that was simply incorrect.
All involved "forget" fundamental facts.
The diagnosis did not have to be scientifically proven - although it has been.
The Presumption Rule forces the Tribunal to provide evidence.
The Tribunal had to scientifically prove their alternative view - and they cannot.
The solicitor suggested over the telephone that if Richard became too ill to proceed during the hearing the judge would not believe him unless he had a letter from his GP. Sadly the phone call was cut short as the solicitor suddenly heard bad news about a relative's health and had to go. They never spoke again but Richard's GP duly produced a letter once again confirming chronic OP poisoning as always and saying that if the court needed any more information he was available and willing to assist.
The Court Hearing was set for 14th September 10.30 am with video link to the local Magistrate's Court - they normally only do this for prisoners and Richard suspected that the HSE and the Tribunal Service hoped that is what he would be will be if they persisted in lying to everyone....
Friday morning and Richard and his wife arrived at the court at 9.40 for 10.15.
The court staff obviously had no idea about the case.. Was Richard in custody?
Were they at the wrong court?
Then they found the court diary but the woman who had arranged the video link had a day off, and no one else knew about it.
They faxed the GP's letter to the High Court in London.
By 10.35 a.m. the video link was still awaited despite it supposedly due to start by 10.30.
About 10.40 after much confusion the link was up and the judge appeared on the screen.
The local court was empty but for Richard, his wife and their son and daughter, and the court official controlling the computer. No sign of the solicitor who had promised to give his support - not that Richard thought he would arrive.
The judge said that as far as he could tell from the evidence there was no case to answer and the refusal to grant Judicial Review was Correct.
Richard asked how that was possible when the Tribunal had claimed somatisation yet his GP's letter clearly gave the diagnosis as poisoning. "What letter?" the judge asked. He had no such letter.
It had been faxed to him 3 times that very morning by the staff at the local court!
The judge stated that he had nothing from Richard about the case since January 2006.
He did not have Richard's statement dated 5th September 2007 or the 40-odd pages of supporting evidence.
There was a scurrying of court officials, papers flying everywhere. The judge asked where those papers were and Richard told him how the statement reports that officials have provided false statements to hide the poisoning diagnosis. Read the statement here.
Richard pointed out that the Aarhus Convention may also apply (article 9.3) and that there had also been breaches in the protocols for medical examinations etc.
But the judge didn't have the papers and he gave Richard a fax number to which copies of all the papers that Richard would like him to see should be sent by fax.
The judge then suggested that the case would have to be adjourned and that they will have to close the video link.
During the next hour, with the Court all to themselves, the Court staff faxed about 90 pages, obtaining receipts for all of them, including evidence of false statements, the official refusal to remove false statements from the records, threats of prosecution for telling the truth, evidence that doctors admitted they were on the losing side before they lied again, and a whole host of other damning stuff to the judge, probably more than he was expecting but which Richard would have raised had the hearing continued. Within the evidence was the affirmation that much more evidence was available if the court offered protection to witnesses.
That done Richard and his wife returned home. Richard was exhausted with the usual tremors etc but he couldn't settle so sent the Judge another fax saying that at least now a High Court judge was in possession of the evidence of contempt of court. View the fax here With that fax he sent a photocopy of the Royal Mail confirmation of delivery of the papers that were not given to the judge by the Court staff. That fax was sent at 14.10 in the afternoon.
Richard heard no more but was expecting to be recalled to the court or to receive notification that an investigation into the criminal actions of the officials would begin.
Instead on the 19th September Richard received the decision in the post and it is clear that the judge cannot have properly considered to evidence before him. It took over an hour for the local court to fax the information. He had three cases after Richard's and the faxing did not end until after midday. Unknown to Richard the judge had re-opened the hearing at 15.40 that afternoon and dismissed the case, denying Judicial Review. Nor did the Judge give any reasons for his decision.
Richard decided that the judge must obviously condone perjury, perversion of justice and contempt of court when those crimes are committed by officials of government and those they are protecting.
Luckily for Richard he had looked at the web site with the court listings and had recognised a name in a following case. Richard contacted the individual who had heard what had been said in court and suggested that Richard was "very brave" - Richard's own view is that he was a fool to take on the task of Judicial Review.
From that source Richard discovered that the Judge was a stand-in as the presiding Judge.
The original judge was to be none other than the senior partner of the firm that had destroyed his civil case and that of all the other organophosphorus poisoning cases. The replacement judge was also from the Matrix Chambers....
Richard wrote once again to the Office for Judicial Complaints but once again found no assistance despite ensuring that they had copies of the statements and the fax to the judge sent on the day of the hearing. His letters to the Ombudsman were also met with a refusal to take the matters raised seriously.
This experience offers more evidence to confirm that things are not as they are made to appear.
Richard requested the transcripts, copies of any recordings, the reasons for the decision, and clarification regarding
the judges involved from the court.
He also asked for clarification regarding the criminal offence of concealment of criminal offences - something pointed out to the judge in the pages of additional evidence sent to him by the court.
The court insisted that Richard should seek permission for the release of the transcripts from the Judge. This was done and the judge eventually gave his consent to the release of the transcripts and recordings on 4th October 2007.
Eventually a CD arrived in the post from the Court Service. Richard was keen to hear the recording but when he played the CD all he heard were muffled sounds. He thought that the Court had deliberately sent a poor recording and wrote a letter asking for the transcripts as the sound quality was poor. Only later did he realise that the recording included the entire day and that the sound was appearing muffled initially because all that was being recorded at the time was the Court staff preparing the court and talking to each other as they moved about.
The weeks and months passed and despite calls to the company who provide the transcripts for the courts and confirmation that they had been dispatched to the court there was still no sign of them. Eventually papers arrived and Richard realised that he still did not have the transcripts for the re-convened hearing on the afternoon of the 14th September - the very information he needed in order to understand the reasons for the Judge's decision. Again he wrote to the court requesting the information.
By February 2008 Richard had the transcripts and it was then clear that the judge had indeed ignored and dismissed the mass of evidence presented to him. Interestingly the transcripts began with the claim that they were inaccurate because of the poor quality of the audio recording - a statement at odds with the truth when the recording was listened to in its entirety. For those interested the transcripts, including the omitted parts that were claimed to be inaudible are to be found here.
Richard passed the information to numerous interested and influential parties but no help was forthcoming.
Now it was too late to appeal and so the highest levels of the legal system had succeeded in hiding the true depths of the deception used in Britain to hide pesticide poisoning cases, even when they have firm, scientifically backed, diagnosis.
Disabled "for life" as the result of a series of negligent actions and living in the formerly "tied" cottage with no prospects of employment, failing health and a wife in remission from serious cancer, and who is now suffering from Type 2 diabetes apparently induced by beta blockers, Richard and his family still face threats such as the costs of the case, said to be held over him "for life", possible eviction from his home of 37 years, further appeals for his rightful benefits and dangerously deteriorating health. It is likely that the unlawful actions and the failure of those in the legal system to uphold the law will never be officially investigated. All approaches to the Information Commissioner have been met with a persistent refusal to ensure that officials act honestly or to ensure that all data held is accurate and reported correctly both to the public and those given permission to view the data. This should be a warning to all those who believe that officials can be trusted with our identity and biometric details. If they cannot be trusted with keeping accurate details as regards chemicals and poisoning how can they be trusted with electronically stored data upon which our lives and access to essential services will depend. A secret code within those files could condemn an individual to a life of extreme difficulty.
In correspondence with the Information Commissioner's Office the problem becomes quite clear.
"The information will be considered accurate according to the DPA [Data Protection Act] if it accurately reflects the opinion of the 'record maker'."
As has been seen throughout this case the "opinion" of officials has always been used to hide and suppress the true facts.
Every person subject to the whims of government officials should take heed of this warning, especially when those officials are given total control over what medical information, biometric data and personal banking, living arrangements etc are stored on the proposed ID cards, which were planned and agreed to long before the terrorist incidents in the USA of 911.
Dishonesty succeeds again and will always win over truth whilst those responsible continue to escape the law.
But the deception does not end there.
Georgina Downs won her Judicial Review case against Defra for its failure to protect human health from the effects of pesticides but the government decided to appeal - just as they had threatened to do had Richard won his first Tribunal in 1997.
When the case was heard the Government once again claimed that pesticides could not cause the reported cases of ill-health and that all farmers and users of pesticides used them safely and within the regulations. The evidence shows every claim to be entirely false but the judges found against Miss Downs and in favour of the government.
Since then there has been a persistent campaign to deny the dangers of pesticides both in the UK and in Europe as the government fights to keep even the most dangerous pesticides in use on farms. Attacks against organic farming have intensified and the fear of food shortages has been used to fuel demand for genetically modified crops, which are designed to promote increased use of dangerous organophosphorus pesticides.
These actions are corrupting science around the world and endangering the health of us all.
The Government was a co-defendant in the group sheep dip action.
The Government controlled the Committee on Toxicity that found no long-term effects from OPs.
The Government controlled the Legal Aid funding for the group action and that funding is provided for, and controls, much of the work done by solicitors on all manner of cases.
The Government controls the National Health Service of which the Poisons Unit was an integral part but has direct funding links to the chemical companies.
The Government controls the Department for Work and Pensions and both the Health & Safety Executive and the Benefits Agency form part of that Department.
The Health and safety Executive now controls the approvals process for dangerous pesticides and is responsible for investigating the cases of adverse health effects induced by pesticides and any prosecutions related to their use.
The Government, via the Lord Chancellor’s office controls the choice of Judges and Tribunal members in addition to controlling the availability of information and the Human Rights Act.
The election campaign for this "New Labour" Government was funded in part by the chemical companies.
The same funding sources are likely for future governments.
Barristers and judges with close personal and business links to key members of Government and who proclaim their support for Human Rights have aided and abetted abuses of power.
The Committee for Standards in Public Life stated that the Government is responsible for the standards of conduct of Ministers.
Government advisers state that there is no evidence that pesticides cause harm to human health.
Those same advisers claim that those occupationally exposed are at greater risk - unless they have a legal case.
Overseeing it all is the Department for Constitutional Affairs
Hiding poisoning in the occupationally exposed increases the difficulty for others in proving their cases and Government advisers now suggest that it is public “perception of risk” that induces poisoning symptoms.
There have already been calls for yet another Inquiry in attempts to discover why agricultural chemicals have seriously poisoned so many people when the deadly dangers to human health are well known by the regulatory bodies.
Is there any level of government at which the deception ends?
There have already been calls for yet another Inquiry in attempts to discover why agricultural chemicals have seriously poisoned so many people when the deadly dangers to human health are well known by the regulatory bodies.
The late, great, Judge Lord Denning is reported to have said that
"Most lawyers know, roughly speaking, what 'Misprision of felony' means.
It means that a man knows that a felony has been committed and neglects to disclose it...."
To do so is an offence in law. "...it has been the duty of a man, who knows that a felony has been committed to report it to the proper authority.....
...a public body "must not misuse its powers; and it is a misuse of power for it to act unfairly or unjustly towards a private citizen when there is no overriding public interest to warrant it."
Feel free to say what you think by email to email@example.com
Go to top
Return to "Your Stories"; Return to Front Page; Return to Contents file Return to OPs file