Contaminated Blood: Lawyers allegedly deceiving courts claiming old evidence ignored for years is “new” (statement)

Peter Longstaff victim of Contaminated Blood disaster who died in 2005 with wife Carol

Victims of the Haemophilia Contaminated Blood disaster described by Lord Winston as the “worst medical treatment disaster in the history of the NHS” have won the right to take their case to the High Court according to the Guardian (see following link)

Contaminated Blood scandal victims win ruling to launch High Court action

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/sep/26/contaminated-blood-scandal-victims-win-ruling-to-launch-high-court-action

Haemophiliacs were infected with HIV and hepatitis C after receiving contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 80s used to treat their condition. The blood was often imported from the US and later traced back via batch numbers to virally high- risk donors including prisoners at Arkansas State Penitentiary.

However campaigners have raised serious concerns that evidence presented as “new” in some media that allegedly formed part of an application to the court is in fact evidence that is many years old and was placed in the public domain by myself as well as presented in face to face meetings with government officials.

Colette Wintle a respected independent campaigner for women with bleeding disorders who was infected with hepatitis C wrote to Liz Carroll CEO at the National Haemophilia Society,

“We can’t claim to be upholding truth and justice if we are supporting a case on misinformation and evidence that was presented over and over again directly to government since 2009. The government is already aware that the information is not new. I am astounded and appalled by the news today that JJ Evans and his solicitors have held their first hearing in the high courts in a case that is being presented as serving up new evidence! This new evidence is apparently based on the documents Jason Evans has uncovered, however as we all know he is using documents acquired under FOI which are actually the redacted version of what Carol Grayson had released via her husband’s solicitors back in 2006 with an arrangement with the DOH. Not only were these documents 25 years of hard research, but many originated from Carol and Pete’s litigation case against government back in 1991 and Jason is dishonestly using them as “new evidence” which even Jeff Courtenay agreed  with Carol, was a lie.

More worryingly , Carol did contact Collins Law who are acting for this high court case, to advise them that the documents shown to them belonged to her husband’s legal case. She also advised them that she was the only person in the UK to have challenged the DOH on it’s definitive report “The self Sufficiency Report 1973-1991 with an award winning dissertation. It cannot be ignored that she was awarded the Sir Michael Young Researcher of the Year Award 2009 which is the top social science award in the UK. Oh and by the way the co- chair of the APPG for Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood ,Sir Peter Bottomley presented the prize to her. I know this because I was there alongside your predecessor Chris James at the ceremony. Sir Peter’s wife  Virginia Bottomley ex Health Minister at the time in 1991, also designated the haemophilia cases back in 1991 as having a “special case status” well documented in the Hansard. It is interesting that this appears to have been completely forgotten about and ignored in subsequent negotiations until this point.  

 

All of these documents were referenced in Hansard, Newsnight April 2007, and numerous press articles, which means clearly they are not new but old news, and sadly the Haemophilia Society since 2009 have sat on this information and failed to use it for the benefit of the society’s members at a point when politically Lord Archer’s conclusions and recommendations in his report could have been implemented. Where does the society stand on this Liz?”

Statement from Carol Grayson on the news that a legal case can proceed

(27th September 2017)

As a campaigner of nearly 3 decades, I am deeply concerned that a legal firm has gone to the High Court claiming “new evidence” according to the Daily Mail when in fact what has been highlighted so far as “new” is in fact old evidence that was ignored by government, the Haemophilia Society, Health Authorities, plasma companies, the GMC, human rights groups and 5 sets of solicitors for years. That is part of what Andy Burnham calls “a criminal cover-up” on an industrial scale”.

Daily Mail article where old evidence returned to the Department of Health by myself in 2006 to be released through the National Archives at Kew and features in my ESRC Michael Young award winning dissertation is falsely claimed as “new” by Jason Evans,

“The new evidence was found by Jason Evans, 27, whose father Jonathan died in 1993 with HIV and hepatitis C after being given contaminated blood products.

Mr Evans, a marketing consultant from Coventry, spent 12 months gathering thousands of documents through Freedom of Information requests and from the National Archives. He said: ‘There has long been concern that there was the use of ‘human guinea pigs’. This is the first time we have evidence that says it in black and white.'”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4662690/Patients-infected-contaminated-samples.html

Evidence falsely claimed as “new” by Jason Evans in the Daily Mail can be found in Chapter 4 of my dissertation (2006) and in the Chronology see link,

http://haemophilia.org.uk/support/day-day-living/patient-support/contaminated-blood/dissertation-carol-grayson-contaminated-blood-products

There is some debate whether Collins Law are still referring to the evidence as “new” which was the basis of their application to the Court for group litigation in the first place. Some media have had to retract the word “new” from articles on the case after complaints were made showing original documents. Yet to my knowledge if Collins Law have changed their mind they have not informed the High Court yet that this evidence is not new?

My awards are for “truth and justice” so it is important to highlight corrects dates of knowledge as to when information was first placed in the public domain. Misinformation is not something for a human rights campaigner to celebrate.

All I have seen so far is that much of the evidence from my late husband’s litigation files which I returned to government in 2006 via solicitors Blackett Pratt and Hart to be released through the National Archives at Kew rehashed under another person’s name. This is exactly what happened in the 2010 Judicial Review against the then Secretary of State for Health, won on key letters myself and Colette Wintle acquired in 2004 in response to several questions on the compensation paid out to haemophiliacs in Eire on a “no liability” basis on the grounds of “extraordinary suffering”. Lord Warner has still not been held to account for misleading parliament.

Contaminated Blood documents I had returned to government in 2006 were released via the National Archives at Kew. These were accessed legally and formed part of my dissertation awarded Michael Young award 2009 (SEE HANSARD BELOW).

                                                      Haemophilia

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many and what proportion of documents relating to the infection of haemophiliacs with contaminated blood products which have been returned to the Department of Health by Blackett, Heart and Pratt Solicitors have (a) undergone independent legal examination and (b) been passed to the Haemophilia Society; [119897]

(2) how many documents relating to the infection of haemophiliacs with contaminated blood products have been returned to the Department by Blackett, Heart and Pratt solicitors; and if she will make a statement. [119898]

Caroline Flint: In May 2006, Blackett Hart and Pratt solicitors returned 623 documents to departmental solicitors. All the documents were reviewed by independent counsel, before they were sent to officials in the Department. The vast majority of these documents (604 in total) were released in line with the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000. The documents were sent to a number of individuals at their request and to the Haemophilia Society.

Some documents were withheld under FOI. However, officials are further reviewing these papers with a view to releasing them if possible.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmhansrd/cm070221/text/70221w0023.htm

 

This evidence was repeatedly presented to government and formed part of my ESRC award winning research in 2006. The government have confirmed many times in writing that a junior civil servant “inadvertently destroyed” government’s own records so are relying on copies which I discovered and sent back.

 

Other campaigners and I are awaiting further legal advice. What is disturbing is that a case I was actively involved in and was closed down by a firm several years ago (that has now gone into administration) has recently been viewed by another firm of solicitors who contacted the client to say “I have reviewed your file of papers and consider you have good prospects of success at this stage and confirm that my firm is willing to act for you on the same terms and conditions” (as the previous solicitors). Why were the earlier solicitors so keen to close the case down despite a large amount of key evidence being presented to them and to a QC by myself and the client?

 

Any public inquiry must include in its remit to investigate how legal cases were handled over the years. One note in my husband’s old legal files reads, “I can no longer lie to my clients”. Why should any lawyer be lying to their clients?

 

Carol Grayson (Haemophilia Action UK)

E-mail to Jeff Courtney, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the Haemophilia Society 16th August 2017 asking for information on Collins Law case

Jeff,

 

I have not seen Collins Law solicitors retract that the so called “new” evidence is in fact rather old. However if any is presented in court that was put out by myself earlier as new this will be rigorously challenged. If solicitors give false information on dates when released and pass off old as new … what hope for truth and justice! We cannot have lawyers colluding with those that harmed us…. That would be a major “conflict of interest”! If the Haemophilia Society is also knowingly supporting media and lawyers putting out false dates of knowledge that is also a major “conflict of interest” and no different to behaviour of the past. Relevant people have now been informed that information is far from new and that I was blocked. Colette and I have many old letters highlighting this.

 

http://www.collinslaw.co.uk/post.php?s=2017-07-04-momentum-in-contaminated-blood-scandal-grows-as-collins-apply-for-a-group-litigation-order-collins-solicitors-press-release-dated-4-july-2017

 

So if lawyers have backtracked as you suggest please share. We aim to go to court on the evidence as it was produced not on a false narrative… (people pretending its new just so they can get into the press). Why on earth would I share evidence with campaigners or lawyers putting out a false narrative or doing damage limitation for government. This is also abusive behaviour to those that have repeatedly presented this evidence to government that was ignored… to Lord Hunt, to Yvette Cooper and to Anne Milton and many others

 

Carol

I did receive a reply to my public question from the Haemophilia Society on the 22nd August 2017 which should have elicited a public response but the Haemophilia Society as ever is shrouded in secrecy and did not want the reply made public. They have a long history of threatening those who oppose them therefore it was no surprise to be on the receiving end of a written threat once again though the email is marked “confidential” so the content cannot be shared here. 

This is disturbing given they are an organization that is supposed to help and advise members and the reasons Collins Law launched their case is a matter of public interest for which they themselves were keen to speak to press and put out a public statement. The Haemophilia Society has a long history of destroying documents allegedly to hide wrongdoing. The disappearance of documents was recently confirmed by a former staff member. They have a long history of intimidating haemophiliacs and their families which must be addressed at any forthcoming Public Inquiry! Those who question or challenge are left out of meetings. There are also instances where confidentiality has been breached. In addition to ongoing issues with the Society, female campaigners face daily misogyny and abuse despite working hard to release key evidence.

Back in the 1990s the Haemophilia Society threatened to remove me from a protest because I was campaigning for those with HIV and at that time they did not want haemophiliacs with both HIV and hepatitis C at Westminster fighting for justice and were EXCLUDING those with HIV. The Haemophilia Society caused great distress dividing off haemophiliacs by virus, pitting one haemophiliac against another. This was extremely cruel causing serious splits within families.

Links

Michael Young Prize winner 2009: Tackling the blood trade (ESRC Issue 4 2009)

https://web.archive.org/web/20101015225531/http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk:80/ESRCInfoCentre/about/CI/CP/societynow/issue4/blood_trade.aspx

Praise for Press Campaign nearly 10 years on (2009)

http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/2009/news/praise-for-press-campaign-nearly-ten-years-on/

Copies of lost “blood row” papers found (Guardian, March 21st 2006)

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2006/may/21/health.medicineandhealth

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

 

About Carol Anne Grayson

Blogging for Humanity.... Campaigner/researcher global health/human rights/drones/WOT/insurgency http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/PO/experts/Health_and_Wellbeing.aspx Exec Producer of Oscar nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad, currently filming on drones.
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