Saturday, July 16, 2011

HACKED BY THE LAW : Hacking in UK public life reveals deals between professions, vested interests, business, lawyers & crooked cops for YOUR details

Consumers HackedDealt with a rogue lawyer, the Law Society or Master Policy ? You have been hacked. Oh yes you have. HACKING IN PUBLIC LIFE in the UK is much more commonly practised and goes far wider than one rashly closed down newspaper, as anyone who has become a figure of public interest, a celebrity, a politician, a critic of industry or vested interests, a campaigner of any kind, and yes, anyone who has made some kind of court claim against big business, the professions or even public services should know. I even know journalists who have been hacked, because they were investigating some kind of scandal which vested interests, some political, some commercial, and some public, did not want their names, companies or organisations dragged through the media in entirely justifiable headlines exposing scandal upon scandal.

Hacking, or as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown referred to earlier this week as “Law breaking on an industrial scale” as he spoke in Parliament about rather unnecessary news reports relating to his son’s medical condition, is most definitely not limited to certain sections of the media. Even if we don't particularly want to admit it, I think most of us and accept that hacking in UK public life and all that illegal information sharing by professions, vested interests, big business and even public servants, exists, happens with alarming frequency, involves substantial amounts of money and personal gain for those involved, and is completely out of control. In short, it wasn't just the News of the World now, was it.

The area of journalism I cover, is of course, the justice system and all its ills. Believe me, there are many and I don't need to go far to find examples.

SLCC Master Policy report 2011However, after my article on 3 July 2011 in which I wrote : SUICIDES, ill health, death, family break-ups, personal threats, repossessed homes, unsolved burglaries, tampered mail, spurious Police visits or raids on your home with following arrests & charges withdrawn, benefits cheat investigations, Inland Revenue investigations, losing your job, DVLA inquiries, TV license inquiries, even RIPSA surveillance by local authorities, actions all apparently instigated by aggrieved lawyers out to discredit troublesome clients, are now known to form a catalogue of common experiences in varying combinations which keep cropping up with clients who attempt to pursue ‘rogue Scottish solicitors’ through the courts by claiming against the Law Society of Scotland controlled Master Policy, the Professional Indemnity Insurance scheme which protects solicitors from damages claims from clients for negligence and other rip-offs”, little did I realise my coverage would bring some individuals out of the woodwork who are now admitting to practising the ‘dark arts’ against disgruntled clients of Scotland’s less than honest legal profession.

Was I surprised. Well, no. However I was surprised at the number of contacts from clients caught in the loop of hiring yet another lawyer to repair the damage a previous lawyer had done to their case, or those clients now trying to pursue their former lawyers through the courts.

Strangely enough, all of these individuals now caught in the system appear to have suffered a string of multiple problems in their life which were not present before they had become involved with the legal system, and had clearly suffered some kind of information sharing exercise between professions & in some cases even the Police who had turned against them on all counts.

In short, the Scottish justice system had clearly turned from an allegedly well respected system of dispute resolution, to that of a finely tuned, well oiled weapon used against anyone who disagreed with it or sought to recover from damages inflicted by it.

After careful consideration of material presented to Diary of Injustice, material which portrays an oh-so-obvious favour-&-trade-for-information policy involving agents working for the Law Society of Scotland’s Master Policy, I wrote a further article on 11 July 2011, reporting admissions from a legal insider that Private Investigators were routinely used to hack the details of clients who were pursuing negligence claims against their crooked lawyers, claims which involve the Law Society of Scotland’s Master Policy, an insurance protection scheme for the legal profession which is brokered by a UK subsidiary (Marsh UK) of a US company called Marsh McLennan Companies (MMC) who were found guilty of bid rigging in the US.

One firm of Private Investigators admitted to working for law firms connected to the Master Policy after being challenged with information. Since I wrote the article on Monday of this week, another firm has also acknowledged its part in monitoring and seeking, on behalf of law firms who in some cases have links to the Scottish Government, details of clients private lives.

Even better, a now retired Private Investigator who has gone on to confirm much of what has been said this week and provide further insight into highly questionable surveillance on clients and even some of the legal profession’s critics, has informed Diary of Injustice that law firms who represent the Master Policy “are now engaged in an effort to find out who talked”.

One particular incident is certainly much more clearer to me after this week.

I am now in a much better position to understand why, for instance, Board members of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) felt they were able, with impunity to brand claimants to the Master Policy & Guarantee Fund as “chancers” and “frequent flyers”.

Simply, it was all down to the level of information on those individuals these particular SLCC Board members had access to, although how & why that information was compiled, what ‘questionable methods & relationships’ were used to compile it, and who was involved in compiling it, is, anyone’s guess for now, as is whether there is even one shred of truth to the information which was generated, and perhaps in some instances, fabricated by the legal profession itself.

However one thing can be clear. This particular information obtained on clients which allowed some people at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission to feel good enough to hurl a few insults at those attempting to recover financial losses incurred by their solicitors, certainly did not come willingly from any client.

Any organisations, particularly a statutory regulator which benefits in any way from such acts of spying on clients denied justice, or whose who are caught up in trying to prove an injustice, acts clearly many of which are illegal, is not a fit or proper organisation to represent the public interest in legal matters, or protect clients interests in dealings with the legal profession.

Similarly, an insurance company which has already been convicted of bid rigging in the United States and has, in conjunction with the most senior officials of a statutory regulator, coordinated a series of acts against consumers to prevent them getting to court to settle negligence claims against crooked lawyers, or crooked anyone for that, is not a fit or proper organisation to offer insurance policies which are held up by equally crooked regulators as client protection schemes, which are nothing of the sort.

So this takes us back to one now very clear fact. If you have dealt with the legal profession on the basis you have tried to take legal action against a solicitor, or if you have raised what could be classified as serious or controversial complaints against members of the legal profession, particularly high profile members of the legal profession, you, like many others caught in the same position you have never met in your life, may well have been hacked. Hacked to an unimaginable degree. If anyone wants to do something about it, you know where I am.

Readers may also wish to note the fine article in today’s Guardian by Heather Brooke, which goes far in explaining some of the information sharing cartels existing in UK public life, here : Phone hacking: let's break up this information cartel

And finally … to the scandal which catapulted hacking in public life into the media headlines, the story of the News of the World, which met its untimely end because, as Rupert Murdoch said today in his apology printed in several newspapers, “The News of the World was in the business of holding others to account. It failed when it came to itself.”

Need I remind you all, the same relationships between former journalists and corrupt Police Officers which ultimately brought down the News of the World, still exist in the same quantities, perhaps even more so, in many walks of life, in big business, in public services, and in the legal profession and indeed right at the very top of its regulatory bodies.

Do you ever think the legal profession and its regulators will ever apologise for, and attempt to put right the wrongs they have committed against members of the public. No they wont. Never.

This is exactly why we need newspapers & journalists with integrity, bloggers, campaigners and victims of injustice who can turn the tables on those in power, do the investigative work which needs to be done, and hold the vested interests, the crooked professions, big business, crooked politicians, the justice system, and those in public life who put on a double face, to account.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

“Law breaking on an industrial scale” seems to fit the Law Society very well don't you think?

Anonymous said...

As long as the police and lawyers do not act against criminal activity be it hacking, legal aid fraud, money stolen from clients or any other corrupt practice what is considered illegal may as well be legal. That is how vested interests avoid prosecution by offering sweetners to the actors who enforce the law.

The line between legality and illegality depends on action, and no lawyer will act against corrupt practices the profession benefits from.

Anonymous said...

I think you nailed Smith & Scanlan's comments right on the button.
I wonder how they will react when they read this ?

Anonymous said...

Need I remind you all, the same relationships between former journalists and corrupt Police Officers which ultimately brought down the News of the World, still exist in the same quantities, perhaps even more so, in many walks of life, in big business, in public services, and in the legal profession and indeed right at the very top of its regulatory bodies.

YES!

Anonymous said...

That's the way Peter tell it as it is,one of the things I like about your site

Anonymous said...

From reading this I gather much of the hacking has been done by Police rather than journalists or private twits then the latter two use each other as cover to cover up the fact the cops did it and received large amounts of money for doing it I'm sure!

Anonymous said...

I agree with what you say although the problem of corrupt Police and everyone else selling information to each other has become so vast how do we deal with it ?

Personally I think the News of the World was made the scapegoat for it all and politicians will be hoping to blame it for everything.

Its a pity it closed really we might have stood a better chance getting to the truth with it still intact.

Anonymous said...

and dont forget the SNP were endorsed by Murdoch!

Anonymous said...

Great stuff - you should be in politics fighting this scum and tearing them down a few pegs where it matters

Anonymous said...

The article by Heather Brooke - an American - serves to confirm the evidence you have regularly uncovered here, and goes a long way to explaining the deafening silence on many legal scandals by Scotland's 'lamestream' press.

Anonymous said...

You are right Peter this hacking business is more than just the newspapers its all through public life and there needs to be a full inquiry into it but who can we trust to lead it when the legal establishment are up to their necks in it too?

Anonymous said...

Good point about what made Scanlan call someone a "chancer".She obviously had access to some info to say that and as you say it wont be anything the person concerned volunteered.
I believe some snooping ha s been going on!

Anonymous said...

Excellent expose Peter and now people who went anywhere near this master policy and the corrupt Law Society will be checking out how they were hacked and probably by their own lawyers!

Anonymous said...

The notw scandal with Brooks arrested today is getting so crooked dont you think?
They probably arrested her just so she wouldnt be able to say anything to mps this week so with this level of corruption going on there's no chance anything will be done about lawyers and cops hacking details of their own clients or anyone else more like a few unfortunate accidents of those who are reporting it right?

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much hacking the Councils did to fill their blacklists

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2015332/Thousands-secret-council-blacklists-Personal-details-kept-residents-dare-complain.html

Thousands on secret council blacklists: Personal details kept of residents who dare to complain
Nearly 9,000 people are on database
Data held includes phone numbers, car registrations and even nicknames

By Gerri Peev

Last updated at 1:16 AM on 16th July 2011

Thousands of people involved in disagreements with council staff have had their personal details stored on secret blacklists.

Bureaucrats have listed the details of members of the public who have been involved in rows with teachers or dustmen over seemingly trivial matters.

Scores of councils hold databases of ‘undesirables’ – individuals who could potentially pose a threat to their staff.

They hold the details of almost 9,000 people, but most have never been charged with or convicted of a crime.

Personal information such as car registration numbers, telephone numbers, household pets, nicknames and distinguishing features are listed on the databases.

Earlier this year the Coalition pledged to crack down on the legacy of Labour’s surveillance society.

Ministers have investigated the number of state powers of entry contained in primary and secondary legislation and were astonished to discover 1,200 in existence – more than 400 of which were created by Labour.

Thirty-four of the 78 councils in England contacted by the Daily Mail admitted having the watch lists and five more are planning to introduce them this year. The total will be higher because there are more than 350 councils in England.

Councils have wildly different criteria for placing people on the blacklist. Many are put there simply after a form is filled out by a member of staff and then rubber-stamped by a manager.

Telford and Wrekin Council said it lists residents ‘if a person behaves in a way which is felt could pose a significant threat of physical or mental harm to employees’.

Doncaster Council said a ‘person needs to pose a potential danger to an employee of the council, or someone acting on behalf of council’ to be put on the list.

But in many councils hundreds of staff can access personal information about people logged as a potential threat, even though they have no contact with the public and so could never be in danger.

Last night Daniel Hamilton, director of campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘It beggars belief to think that so many councils are wasting precious financial resources compiling databases of “undesirable” local residents.

'While councils have a duty to protect their staff, they also have a duty to respect the privacy of local residents.

‘People who have never committed a crime should not have their details logged like common criminals. Their details should be deleted immediately.’

Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, has warned councils that they have a legal duty to keep the information secure.

A spokesman for his office said councils had a duty of care to protect their staff, which could involve putting them on a list.

But he added: ‘These markers should be used very carefully and should contain the reasons for identifying individuals as being potentially violent.’

He said councils should inform residents who are on the database, setting out how they ended up on it. Only in extreme cases where a council believed that telling a resident they were on the list would lead to a violent reaction should they not approach the individual.

Anonymous said...

2nd part

Good citizen treated like a criminal

When she spotted a drunk trampling flowers in a park, Jane Clift saw it as her public duty to report him.

But her efforts led to a nightmare in which she was branded potentially violent and put on a council blacklist with thugs and sex attackers.

Her details were circulated to public and private bodies, including doctors’, dentists’, opticians’, libraries, contraceptive clinics, schools and nurseries.

Their staff were advised not to see her alone. The 44-year-old former care worker was forced to withdraw an application to become a foster parent and to leave the town where she had lived for ten years.

Her ordeal began in August 2005 when she called the police after the drunk threatened her in a park in Slough, Berkshire.

He had fled by the time police arrived, but they advised her to contact the council, which was running a campaign to persuade people to report anti-social behaviour. When a worker in the anti-social behaviour unit allegedly failed to take action, Mrs Clift went to a higher level. A co-ordinator claimed she became ‘very difficult’ during a phone call.

In December 2005, Mrs Clift received a letter from the council to say she had been put on the register of potentially violent people.

After a four-year legal battle, the High Court ordered Slough Council to pay her £12,000 in libel damages.

Anonymous said...

I agree Peter also that story in the Guardian is SPOT ON about all this information sharing going on behind our backs.Time to put a stop to it all and cuff all these crooks who do it including the cops and lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Clearly this kind of illegality could only be maintained if Lawyers, the Police, Politicians and the Press were 'all in this together' - perhaps we could sell our 'democracy' to the Italians?

Anonymous said...

Get Murdoch to sell you the NoW title for £1 and restart it!

Anonymous said...

Copying what you said in your post :

"I am now in a much better position to understand why, for instance, Board members of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) felt they were able, with impunity to brand claimants to the Master Policy & Guarantee Fund as “chancers” and “frequent flyers”.

Simply, it was all down to the level of information on those individuals these particular SLCC Board members had access to, although how & why that information was compiled, what ‘questionable methods & relationships’ were used to compile it, and who was involved in compiling it, is, anyone’s guess for now, as is whether there is even one shred of truth to the information which was generated, and perhaps in some instances, fabricated by the legal profession itself.

However one thing can be clear. This particular information obtained on clients which allowed some people at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission to feel good enough to hurl a few insults at those attempting to recover financial losses incurred by their solicitors, certainly did not come willingly from any client."

One of the most important issues you have written about Peter.Clearly this client whoever they are had their lives hacked into by the legal profession and this is why Scanlan said what she said no mistake about it as you say.

Anonymous said...

Same happening up here its just no one is talking about it yet..I wonder why.How much did the cops make up here and who did they hack for which lawyers etc?

Peter Cherbi said...

Thanks for your comments on this article.

More will be reported on the information gathering abilities of the legal profession, where in one case now before Diary of Injustice, an advocate appears to have secured financial records and Police notes of individuals he is in dispute with, for the purpose of undermining a future case ...

Another good headliner on the way ...

Anonymous said...

More will be reported on the information gathering abilities of the legal profession, where in one case now before Diary of Injustice, an advocate appears to have secured financial records and Police notes of individuals he is in dispute with, for the purpose of undermining a future case ...

Sounds highly illegal to me - I look forward to reading about it with big pictures of the crooked advocate.