I was disappointed that the Bar Council were not prepared to properly investigate my complaint about misrepresentation at my Appeal, and so I decided to reply with the letter below.
2 October 2006
To: Mr Robert Behrens
The Bar Council
289-293 High Holborn
London WC1V 7HZ
Your Reference: PC 2006/0511/D
Dear Mr Behrens,
Re: Complaint by me against Mr Michael Mansfield QC
Thank you for your letter of 26th September 2006, to which I make reference.
I am not satisfied with the Bar Council’s handling of my complaint and consequently I shall be reporting this matter to the Legal Services Ombudsman. I have a number of concerns about your decision and I rely on the following grounds:
Ground 1: A false precedent has been allowed to remain on file
A false legal precedent has been created by Mr Mansfield in the UK hierarchy. Any false precedent and any orbita arising from it can and will be used in future English Court proceedings, and may also be used as persuasive precedent in foreign jurisdictions.
The use of false precedents brings into disrepute the entire fabric of British justice. Your decision not to rectify what is clearly wrong does a great disservice to all barristers in the UK and elsewhere. Allowing lies to remain on file, for other Courts to use, is contrary to the duty of an officer of the court, and damages the reputation of the Bar Council.
I am available as a witness of truth, as are the records and evidence from my trial and appeal, to demonstrate that the case for misrepresentation was not imaginary but real.
The brief facts are:
a) Mr Mansfield appealed my case on 8th June 1995 from settled grounds.
b) Mr Mansfield was aware that one of those grounds was that I had never met Col Oshchenko, nor been taught spy craft or tradecraft by him. Quote: ‘There were no sightings of the appellant with Oshchenko nor any evidence that they knew or had dealings with each other’.
c) Mrs “C” was a witness at my trial, and her testimony was that there was no evidence I had ever been recruited or trained by Col Oshchenko.
d) The true identity of Mrs “C” remained undisclosed at the time of my Appeal.
e) In 1995 Mr Mansfield undertook to properly research all grounds he would present at my Appeal.
f) One of Mr Mansfield’s tasks in 1995 was to verify the true identity of Mrs “C”.
g) Mr Mansfield failed in 1995 to identify Mrs “C” as Stella Rimington, the then head of MI5.
h) Mr Mansfield allowed the judges at the Court of Appeal to record the false conclusion that a connection to Oshchenko had been proved from the evidence at my trial.
Ground 2: I am not in breach of your rule 11 c
With reference to the issues raised in Ground 1, it should be noted that:
a) Following the appeal in 1995, my case was submitted to the European Commission of Human Rights, which continued until 1997.
b) In 1997/98 my case was prepared and submitted to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. This case is still open and further submissions are being prepared.
c) Mrs “C” ’s true identity has only recently become known to me.
d) Mr Mansfield’s clerk, Ms Camilla Cameron, was in correspondence about this specific matter less than 2 months ago.
e) Mr Mansfield himself confirmed in correspondence only one month ago that he is well aware of the above facts, and he indicated that he would try and right the wrong done to me.
My complaint therefore runs by mutual consent, from the time of my last correspondence with Mr Mansfield dated the 30th August 2006, and not from the Appeal date of 8th June 1995. To say otherwise would, of course, open the floodgates to any legal practitioner to delay proceedings, and to then argue that the complainant was out of time and in breach of the Bar Council rule 11c.
Ground 3 It is wrong to claim there are no records to support the complaint
I must point out that all the documents regarding my complaint have been well rehearsed in correspondence or email with Mr Mansfield, or his clerk, or his assistant Ms Cameron, in the course of the last two months. Your suggestion, therefore, regarding a possible memory failure regarding any of the above facts is not tenable, given the overwhelming amount of correspondence and documentation held both by Mr Mansfield and myself, as all parties are well aware of the facts.
All the facts presently before you are currently available in Crown Court transcripts and restated in the Court of Appeal transcript. So, neither Mr Mansfield nor myself are required at any time to recall anything from memory. The complaint concerns the false facts put before the Appeal Court, and who should remedy that failure.
Ground 4: That the Bar Council has refused to investigate a valid complaint
This is self-evident from what is stated above. Mr Mansfield was negligent in failing to support the ground of appeal with evidence readily available to him. His conduct was grossly incompetent and below the professional standards required of a Barrister.
Michael John Smith
c.c. The Legal Services Ombudsman
I then made an application to the Legal Services Ombudsman to ask them to investigate the strange decision of the Bar Council to reject my complaint without giving it the sort of attention that it really deserved. Among the points I made were the following.
2 October 2006
To the Legal Services Ombudsman
The Bar Council's Complaints Commissioner did not properly investigate my complaint. Instead he has made claims that my complaint was out of time (according to their rule 11C), and that lack of records and poor memory will make it impossible to deal with my complaint. On both counts the Commissioner is clearly and demonstrably wrong, and I believe he has not dealt with my complaint correctly or in accordance with the Bar Council procedures. My case, which is to overturn my conviction for offences against the Official Secrets Act, is currently with the CCRC and has never been a "dead" case as might be implied by the Commissioner - in fact Mr Michael Mansfield QC wrote to me on 30 August 2006 proving that he believed the case was still current. On the matter of records: all the records necessary to investigate my complaint are available and copies are held by the CCRC.
I am trying to resolve legal issues caused by the misrepresentation of my case at the Court of Appeal, and the Bar Council's attitude to my complaint is just adding to my belief that they are trying to avoid facing up to the fact that barristers in the UK are capable of serious negligence. It distresses me greatly that I am not only having the effort to overturn my conviction, but I am also having to confront the lawyers who caused my wrongful conviction in the first place.
It may be that it is impossible to get justice in the UK, but I would hope that the lawyers will follow the correct process and make their decisions based on the facts rather than merely biased manipulation of the errors of the past.