Wednesday, March 14, 2012

#Leveson Inquiry :Serious allegations about the former Metropolitan Police commissioners Lord Blair and Sir Paul Stephenson have been made in a witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry, it emerged today.

paul stephenson
Sir Paul Stephenson, who has already given evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, is the subject of 'very serious allegations' by another witness
Peter Tickner, Scotland Yard’s former director of internal audit, had been due to air the claims when he is called to give evidence tomorrow, but his appearance may now be postponed following objections from the Met’s legal team.
Today he was accused of trying to use the Inquiry to “settle old scores”.
Neil Garnham QC, representing the Metropolitan Police, who has seen Mr Tickner’s as yet unpublished statement, said: “The allegations being made against people like Lord Blair, Sir Paul Stephenson and others are very serious.
"They come, to use the popular expression, from leftfield. They have not been prefaced or anticipated before."
He added: "Given the nature of these allegations, they are certain to receive significant publicity... The allegations being made are unproven and unsupported by independent evidence.

"They have, we would say, the flavour of attempts to use the inquiry as a vehicle to settle old scores, and those criticised have had no chance to deal with the issues when they gave evidence.

"These previous witnesses face being traduced in the press without any possibility of effective redress or rebuttal."

In 2009 Mr Tickner compiled a report on the use of corporate American Express cards by 3,500 Met officers, which referred 300 officers to the force’s Directorate of Professional Standards.

It emerged that one officer had spent £40,000 on his Amex card in one year, without authorisation, while other officers bought suits, women’s clothing and fishing rods.

Mr Tickner later alleged that Andy Hayman, the former assistant commissioner who quit his job after an investigation was launched into his expenses, had bought a £50 bottle of champagne which he drank with a News of the World reporter.

Mr Garnham also raised concerns about allegations against senior officers made in a statement to the inquiry by Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll, who led the Met's investigation into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Lord Justice Leveson said he would consider postponing Mr Tickner's evidence and suggested that the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC) - Scotland Yard's new governing body - could investigate his claims further.

He said: "It may be that the authority or its successor body ought to be considering that which its former employee (Mr Tickner) has said, to find out whether there is material which I ought to know about that would either utterly undermine that which he's said, in which case I may take a view about whether it should be called, or alternatively a different line is taken, in which case I have to make all sorts of arrangements to make sure that I have been fair to everybody concerned."