Following the evidence given this afternoon by Sharon Evans at the Home Affairs Select Committee, Ben Emmerson QC said this afternoon:
“The effective operation of any public inquiry requires that panel members are able to hold full and frank discussions in confidence and take collective responsibility for their decisions. This is reflected in the terms of their appointment which provide that the unauthorised disclosure of confidential information is a breach of contract justifying immediate termination.
Sharon Evans has repeatedly disclosed confidential information in public and has made a number of public statements that are factually misleading. These were serious violations of her duties as a panel member and undermine the integrity of the inquiry and the confidence of victims and survivors.
It was my clear duty as counsel to the inquiry to bring these breaches to the attention of the panel and the Home Office. I also pointed them out clearly to Ms. Evans herself on a number of occasions, and it was this which led her to accuse me of bullying her.
These allegations of bullying and intimidation are entirely baseless. As the Home Office will confirm, Ms. Evans’ complaints have already been fully investigated and dismissed as unfounded, something she neglected to mention when she gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee this afternoon.
The advice that I gave Ms. Evans was legally correct and entirely necessary in the circumstances.”
Ben Emmerson QC| Matrix Chambers