Category Archives: HASC

The ‘Independent’ Review Into Operation Vincente


We do not have the full report only Appendix A, which includes an edited version of the Key observations and Conclusions, which can be found HERE

The report concludes that the investigation into the allegations were justified. However, I’m unaware that anyone has suggested otherwise. A very serious allegation had been made and it was absolutely correct that it should be investigated and it was.

The report states that the first statement taken by South Yorkshire Police was of “poor standard” and that the second statement taken by the Metropolitan Police “lacked sufficient probing”. There is no reference made of any third statement to correct these shortcomings.

The report describes the conclusion of DCI Paul Settle (SIO) that the offence had not been made out due to issues of consent as “erroneous”.


No mention is made in the “Key Observations and Conclusions” of the reviewer’s opinion of the CPS’s independent assessment at the time which concurred with DCI Settle’s conclusion or the subsequent opinion expressed by the DPP Alison Saunders who told the Home Affairs Select Committee on the 21/10/2015:

“From the complainants account herself, we [CPS] didn’t think there was enough on that alone for it to go ahead and there would not be sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect [for conviction]”

As the reviewer has not referred to this we have no way of knowing whether he believes that the CPS and DPP took an ‘erroneous’ view.

All we can say is that following his independent review, he came, all be it grudgingly, to exactly the same conclusion as DCI Settle, the CPS and the DPP Alison Saunders.


Internal police politics – Who’d want to swim in that sewer?


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HASC: Report on Lord Brittan And Paul Gambaccini Investigations

The key points are that DCI Paul Settle and the DPP are commended, while Tom Watson MP and the Metropolitan Police are criticised.

Just for clarity, this report only refers to the investigation into Lord Brittan regarding the ‘Jane’ rape allegation and not other allegations that have been made against Lord Brittan.

Press Release:

Full Report:HASC Report P03
HASC Report P04
HASC Report P05
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HASC Report15
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Was The Met’s Interview Under Caution Of Leon Brittan ‘Unlawful’?


Keith Vaz MP: What was the decision that you took about the allegation made by the witness ‘Jane’?

.DCI Paul Settle: On the 4th September 2013, and following the advice I’d received from the Crown Prosecution Service and in conjunction with further advice from the Crown Prosecution Service regarding the police applying what’s known as ‘The Code Test’ I decided that the investigation should not proceed any further.

.My reason for that was that I concluded that any action against Lord Brittan would be grossly disproportionate and would not have a legal basis as in order to interview him, we would have to have had reasonable grounds to suspect than an evidence (sic) [offence] had been committed.
The investigation had shown that whilst an allegation had been made, the offence had not been ‘made out’ in law and, as such, those reasonable grounds had ceased.
Vaz: So you found there was no reasonable grounds at all, and you went to the CPS.  Did you have any difficulty – because this will become an issue in relation to other witnesses – did you have any difficulty in getting advice from the CPS?
Settle: Absolutely not.  I reviewed all the evidence we had against Lord Brittan on the 7th of June and it’s a long time since I was at detective school, and I looked at the evidence, and I thought, I’m not quite sure about this, so I sought what’s known as ‘Early Investigative Advice’ from the Crown Prosecution Service.  The report that I sent up was completely anonymised so there was no mention of Lord Brittan whatsoever in there, so we could get a completely objective, unbiased view and the report came back and that concurred with my thoughts that the offence of rape had not been ‘made out’ and that was specifically on the account that the victim, ‘Jane’, had given us.  That’s before we spoke to anybody else – which we had done – but on the victim’s account alone it was unreasonable to suspect that anybody would have known that consent was an issue.
Vaz: So there was no reason in your view to either interview him or to cause any further investigations to take place?
Settle: Absolutely not.  I’d made an entry basically saying that I did not feel that the arrest of Lord Brittan was a proportionate response.  The matter was over 40 years old, the offence was not clear-cut, the additional witnesses that we had traced despite it being 40-years-old did not support Lord Brittan’s presence.  Jane had only identified him from a certificate she had allegedly seen and I was not convinced the necessary points for the offence had been proved.
To understand why the question of whether, subsequent to DCI Settle being removed as head of the investigation, the Metropolitan Police’s interview of Leon Brittan under caution on 30th May 2014 may have been unlawful or not we need to first clearly understand exactly what DCI Paul Settle is saying here.
Cutting away all of the legal and official terminology, what is being said is that; In law, and from the complainant Jane’s own statement to the police, the criminal offence of rape did not take place.
That is a very harsh way of putting it but necessary if we’re going to follow the argument through about whether Leon Brittan’s interview was lawful or not . It looks from the available evidence that this conclusion was reached because the issue of whether the accused would have known that Jane had not given consent was not demonstrated from her statement.
It is not just DCI Paul Settle that reached the conclusion that from Jane’s statement to the police, no crime could be shown to have taken place. DCI Settle sent an anonymised account of the evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for ‘Early Investigative Advice’ and the CPS agreed with his view. Furthermore, the DPP Alison Saunders using the same legal and official terminology supported that position at the HASC when she stated;
From the complainants account herself, we [CPS] didn’t think there was enough on that alone for it to go ahead and there would not be sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect [for conviction]
This issue has become clouded in the public perception because, according to DCI Settle, the account that Jane has given to the media differs from the two statements that she gave, first to South Yorkshire Police and then to the Metropolitan Police (MPS).
On Saturday 17th May 2014 Exaro News published a version of Jane’s account in 5 Parts. The first part of that account can be found HERE. In this account there are a few points at which any objective reader would conclude that consent was an issue. Two days later, on Monday 19th May , it appears that DCI Paul Settle was removed from the investigation and the decision to interview Lord Brittan under police caution was taken.
It begs the question whether whoever had taken that decision had taken the time to read Jane’s original police statements before doing so or had simply based it on the account that had been published on Exaro and subsequently in The Sunday Mirror. I say, “it begs the question” but frankly, suggesting such profound levels of incompetence and negligence by senior MPS management would be so incredible that I feel somewhat foolish even posing it.
It may be that Jane might decide to publish the two police statements herself, suitably redacted to protect her anonymity, and we may then be in a position to judge for ourselves in what respects these statements differ from the account published by the media. Jane can do this, the authorities can not and so for the purposes of this post I’m going to assume that the two accounts differ substantively and that the conclusion reached by DCI Settle and the CPS was the correct one and that when DCI Settle states that the first hurdle of any investigation, whether a crime had actually had taken place based on the complainant’s allegation – was not passed in this case, regardless of what the Jane felt.
This then brings us on to the explanation that DAC Steve Rodhouse gave for re-opening the investigation and interviewing Lord Brittan under caution but before we do I’d like to suggest one avenue of investigation to any journalists that are reading this which may throw more light on the events at the Empress Building on the 19th May 2014. Lord Brittan was interviewed under police caution by appointment at his solicitors on 30th May 2014. It would be extremely useful to know when the police made this appointment to interview. Was the appointment made on Monday 19th May ?
DAC Rodhouse gave two reasons why he felt it was right to re-open the investigation and interview Lord Brittan. The first was misidentification and the second was that the allegation may have been malicious.
On the first point, given that the CPS had concluded that no crime had taken place, what purpose was served in investigating whether it was Lord Brittan who had not raped Jane, or if Jane had misidentified him and that some other man resembling Leon Brittan had not raped her ? The identity of the person alleged to have been involved is completely irrelevant given that on the basis of Jane’s police statements no crime had taken place.
On the second point, that the possibility that Jane’s allegation may have been malicious and that needed to be investigated, I concur but under those circumstances Lord Brittan should have been interviewed as a potential victim and not under police caution.
The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime stipulates that a complainant must be informed of any significant action taken by the police, such as an interview or an arrest within 5 working days of the action being taken.
1.5 You are entitled to be informed by the police of the following information and to have the reasons explained to you within5 working days of a suspect being: • arrested; • interviewed under caution; • released with no further action; • released on police bail, or if police bail conditions are changed or cancelled.
On Friday the 30th May 2014 Lord Brittan was interviewed under caution, which means that Jane would have to have been informed of this before Friday 5th June 2014 – One month later on 7th July Exaro published ‘DPP forced Scotland Yard to quiz Leon Brittan over rape claim’HERE
The police were well aware that Jane had a close relationship with Exaro those that took the decision to interview Leon Brittan can not claim ignorance of the consequences of their actions. It is clear from DCI Settle’s evidence to the HASC that he understood what the consequences would be. Lord Brittan’s name was then in the public domain associated with a sexual offence.
DAC Rodhouse’s account makes absolutely no sense.
I’m not a lawyer and I’m not appraised of what constitutes a lawful and unlawful use of the police powers to interview a person under police caution and so I’m in no position to make a judgement. However, my suspicion is that the police acted unlawfully when it interviewed Lord Brittan under police caution.


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HASC: Evidence Given By Tom Watson MP [21/10/15]

Tom Watson’s evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee, 21st October 2015. Keith Vaz, Chair, directed that the evidence should be specifically and solely related to the accusations by ‘jane’ against Lord Brittan.


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HASC: Evidence Given By DPP Alison Saunders [21/10/15]

Alison Saunders giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee 21 Oct 2015.

DPP Alison Saunders – “From the complainants account herself, we [CPS] didn’t think there was enough on that alone for it to go ahead and there would not be sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect [for conviction]”

Alison Saunders also makes clear that there was nothing in DCI Paul Settle’s original decision that was contrary to the ACPO/CPS guidance on the investigation of rape cases, which was referred to in Tom Watson’s letter to the DPP.


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HASC: Evidence Given By DAC Steve Rodhouse And DAC Patricia Gallan [21/10/15]

Patricia Gallan, Metropolitan Police, Deputy Assistant Commissioner – Specialist Crime and Operations and Steve Rodhouse, Metropolitan Police, Deputy Assistant Commissioner – Head of Crime and Operations giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee 21 Oct 2015.


Any objective viewer of yesterday’s evidence session of the Home Affairs Select Committee session would have to conclude that the decision making of the Metropolitan Police senior management was at fault.

I personally found DAC Steve Rodhouse’s evidence particularly unconvincing and his manner shifty.


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HASC: Evidence Given By DCI Paul Settle [21/10/15]

DCI Paul Settle’s evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee, 21st October 2015. Keith Vaz, Chair, directed that the evidence should be specifically related to the accusations by ‘jane’ against Lord Brittan.


Of importance in all of this is the reasons why DCI Paul Settle decided to close the case without interviewing Lord Brittan.

Victoria Atkins MP – Where did the evidence lead you in this case [Jane] ?

DCI Paul Settle – The evidence led me to the conclusion that on Jane’s account alone the actual points to prove for rape were not there. Therefore, despite the fact that Jane was insisting that she’d been raped, in law, she hadn’t.

Later in the HASC session;

DPP Alison Saunders – From the complainants account herself, we [CPS] didn’t think there was enough on that alone for it to go ahead and there would not be sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect [for conviction]

The CPS opinion has never been made public, but the IoS can reveal that concerns were expressed as to whether, assuming an encounter took place, “the suspect was unaware that the victim was not consenting to the sexual intercourse between them”. “On the victim’s evidence alone,” says the advice, “there is no evidence that the suspect had asked the victim for sex, that he had demanded sex, that he had forced the victim to [lie] on the bed, neither did he ask her to remove her clothing”.

Independent on Sunday


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HASC: Letter from Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey to the Chair of the Committee, dated 14 October 2015

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Oral evidence session 21 October

I have seen your letter of 13 October addressed to the Commissioner inviting him to attend an oral evidence session on the afternoon of 21 October to give evidence on matters concerning the late Lord Brittan. I have also seen the email sent from Carol Oxborough on the same date indicating that the Committee also wishes to take evidence from two officers involved in leading the investigation, namely DCI Paul Settle and DCI Sam Price.

With regard to the Commissioner, he is on official business overseas on the 21 October. He has, however, asked me to offer his attendance before the Committee on his return if the Committee would find that to be of assistance.

We do, however, have very considerable reservations about the attendance of DCI Settle and DCI Price before the Committee. We understand, of course, the Committee’s interest in the matters on which it is to take evidence and we are anxious that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) should be able to assist the Committee in the most effective way possible. We do not though think it is appropriate that relatively junior officers should be required to give evidence on purely operational matters in circumstances where it is possible for more senior officers to attend. In our view this would create an unhelpful precedent and may lead to anxiety amongst officers taking operational decisions that they may subsequently have to justify the detail of those decisions before a Committee of the House of Commons. This would seem to us to have significant implications for the operational independence of the police.

As I say above, we do understand the importance of the MPS being able to assist the Committee and, for this reason, I would like to suggest that both Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse should attend your session on 21 October to give evidence. AC Gallan has been the Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Crime and Operations since 9 February 2015 and DAC Rodhouse became the Gold Commander in charge of Operation Vincente (the investigation into the allegation against the late Lord Brittan) on 7 July 2014. I am fully confident that AC Gallan and DAC Rodhouse will be able to give comprehensive evidence to the Committee on the matters it is considering while avoiding the difficulties that I mention in the previous paragraph.

Should you wish to discuss these issues I would, of course, be very happy to do so.

Yours sincerely

Craig Mackey

Deputy Commissioner

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HASC: Letter from Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse to the Chair of the Committee, dated 16 October 2015


I am writing in response to the questions that you have asked with regard to the investigation into Lord Brittan.

I hope that it assists if I answer each of your four questions in turn

1)   When was it decided that no further action would be taken against Lord Brittan?

The investigation was ongoing at the time of Lord Brittan’s death, at which point the possibility of a prosecution came to an end. At no time had the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) publicly identified Lord Brittan as the subject of a criminal investigation. In response to media questions, the MPS confirmed on 22nd January 2015, the day after Lord Brittan’s death, that an investigation into a rape allegation in which a man in his 70’s had been questioned was ongoing. On the same day, a statement from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said, ‘A charging decision has not been made in this case and the matter remains with the police.’

Prior to this, the MPS had appealed against a decision by the CPS not to review a file of evidence sent to it in November 2014. The MPS was seeking independent scrutiny in order to reassure the public that a thorough investigation had been conducted and had resulted in insufficient evidence to bring charges. Correspondence with the CPS ended in June 2015 at which point the investigation was formally concluded.

2) Why did it take so long to come to that decision?

The MPS sent its final file of evidence to the CPS in November 2014. Although the MPS had judged that the evidence gathered made a decision to charge Lord Brittan unlikely, it still sought a review of the evidence. In our view, there was a need for a transparent external assessment of the case.

The CPS responded that it could not review the evidence because it fell outside its guidelines. These say the evidence should only be reviewed where the police believed that the case met the evidential threshold for charging.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse decided to appeal the decision by the CPS to refuse to review the file on the basis that the MPS still wanted to seek an independent view on the police investigation and decision making. It was felt that these were highly unusual circumstances where the previous independence of the police to tackle sexual offending by VIPs had been publicly called into question. A decision to take no further action in respect of this allegation would undoubtedly have resulted in media criticism and public cynicism and there was clearly a very strong public interest in ensuring that the correct decision had been made.

Lord Brittan could not therefore, at that point, have been informed that no action was to be taken in respect of this allegation. Although the MPS had concluded that there was not a strong case against Lord Brittan, the purpose of requesting a CPS view was to assess whether, in its view, it did reach the evidential standard. It would have been open for the CPS to conclude that it did not meet the threshold for charging and no further action should be taken, or that further enquiries were needed or that there was in fact sufficient evidence for a charge. It was therefore conceivable that a reviewing CPS lawyer could have concluded that LB could have been charged.

3) Why was Lord Brittan not informed immediately?

The investigation was ongoing at the time of his death as explained above.

4) What is the estimated cost of this investigation into Lord Brittan?

This investigation was conducted by officers engaged in a number of other investigations and was not separately costed. A brief assessment of the case indicates that the salary costs for the police officers who carried out the investigation are in the region of £3,800. This includes planning and conducting   the investigation, preparing and submitting the files to the CPS. It does not include costs of   supervision and governance through the Gold Group meetings through which senior officers and legal advisors scrutinise the investigative process. Nor does it include the costs of reviewing the investigation, legal support in drafting letters and communication support in dealing with enquiries from the media.

I hope that this information will assist the Committee.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Rodhouse

Deputy Assistant Commissioner

Metropolitan Police

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HASC: The Investigation Into The Late Lord Brittan

This session will likely focus on the investigation into the allegation of rape by a witness known as ‘Jane’, and the circumstances and timing of the Metropolitan Police interview of Leon Brittan.

It may touch on other lines of investigation into the late Lord Brittan.

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The Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) will meet to gather evidence tomorrow, 21st October, at 2:15pm in The Grimond Room, Portcullis House. More information HERE

Giving evidence will be;

2:15pm – DCI Paul Settle, Metropolitan Police, Former Head of Operation Fairbank

2:45pm – Patricia Gallan, Metropolitan Police, Deputy Assistant Commissioner – Specialist Crime and Operations

Steve Rodhouse, Metropolitan Police, Deputy Assistant Commissioner – Head of Crime and Operations

3:15pm – Tom Watson MP

4:00pm – Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions

Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“The Committee firmly believes that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which the Home Secretary has established under the chairmanship of Judge Lowell Goddard, is the most appropriate channel for these very important matters to be examined.

Our evidence session is therefore intended as a continuation of the regular series of very helpful regular updates which the Committee received from the Metropolitan Police in the last Parliament and to hear evidence on a particular case.

The Committee fully appreciates that ongoing operational activities are a matter for the police and these areas will not be discussed during the session.”


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HASC: Theresa May On ‘Official Secrets Act’ 17th March

Theresa May, Home Secretary, facing the Home Affairs Select Committee on the 17 March 2015, addressing questions about the application of the Official Secrets Act to child abuse and high level cover-up witnesses.

Keith Vaz asking a very precise question about the OSA at 03:10 and receives an answer that he restates at 5:02. The Home Secretary’s further reply is that she ‘hopes and expects’ that those who contravene the Official Secrets Act will not be prosecuted, but it must be for Justice Goddard and the Attorney General to decide.


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Cliff Richard: Letter From Chief Constable David Compton To Keith Vaz




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Appointment of the Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse










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The Home Affairs Select Committee Endorses Home Secretary’s Nominee to Chair the Historic Child Abuse Inquiry

Home Affairs Committee 00:01 Friday 13 February 2015

The Home Affairs Select Committee took evidence from Justice Lowell Goddard at a pre-appointment hearing on Wednesday 11th February 2015.

The Committee made a number of recommendations, including:

• The establishment of a parallel Survivors’ Forum, on a formal basis, with strong links to the Panel. This forum should be properly funded, to provide any necessary support to its members.

• The new Panel should give consideration to hiring specialist staff to provide support to abuse survivors giving evidence.

• That the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office should conduct a new search of all government material, to establish that no relevant documents have been overlooked.

• The Panel should produce interim reports as frequently as it sees fit, but that the first interim report should be produced as soon as possible.

• Justice Goddard should play a full role in the selection of Panel members, as well as having a free hand over the appointment over the Inquiry Counsel and Secretariat.

• Justice Goddard should fully consult the Chairs of the Northern Ireland Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse and the Scottish national public inquiry into historical abuse of children in institutional care, with particular regard to seeking to avoid gaps between the areas covered by the various inquiries.

• The scope of the inquiry should be extended to include cases of abuse in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where there is reason to believe that material relevant to the case might be held by the UK Government. This would include cases such as the Kincora Boys’ Home.

Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the Committee, said:

“We were impressed by the outstanding credentials of Justice Goddard, and the open and transparent way in which she gave evidence to the Committee. We believe she has the necessary skills and dedication to carry out this complex task effectively. She will be standing down from the High Court of New Zealand to take on this position full time and she will come to live in the UK. Both of these decisions show that she is strongly committed to giving this inquiry the full attention that it deserves.
Justice Goddard anticipates taking up her appointment full time in early April. By then the membership of the Panel, her salary and the terms and conditions of her employment should be concluded. We also look forward to receiving her letter detailing her interests as soon as possible. We reserve the right to recall Justice Goddard should this letter disclose any information which may cause concern.
We are confident that Justice Goddard will establish full independence from the Home Office and that she will shape and lead the inquiry in the manner she decides, but with proper consideration for the survivors. This is an important moment for the Inquiry, first established 221 days ago, and is an opportunity to renew the process after two false starts. We wish her well.”

Home Affairs Select Committee Document 13th February 2015

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HASC: Justice Lowell Goddard 11th Feb 15

This pre-selection HASC hearing with Judge Goddard, proposed chair of the CSA inquiry, will be the last one that involves this select committee. Keith Vaz explained that ‘as soon as a statutory inquiry is formed, parliament steps back to allow the statutory inquiry to do its work.’ However, he expressed the view that he was sure that the successor committee, formed after parliament is reassembled after the 7th May, will want to hear from Justice Goddard.


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Full Statement From The Inquiry Panel Regarding HASC Hearing


Panel Presentation to Home Affairs Select Committee: Tuesday 20 January 3.30pm

Following today’s appearance at the Home Affairs Select Committee the panel states:

Today we outlined that the work of the panel is underway.

The panel has full confidence in the integrity, advice and impartiality of Counsel to the Inquiry. We accept the advice provided was robust but do not accept any statements about bullying. We reject any suggestion that the panel has been intimidated.


Drusilla Sharpling

Jenny Pearce

Ivor Frank

Terence Stephenson

Moira Gibb

Graham Willmer

Barbara Hearn



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HASC: Panel Members 20th January 2015

Witnesses from the Independent panel inquiry into child sexual abuse appearing before the Home Affairs Select Committee 2oth January 2015.

Witnesses are; Drusilla Sharpling CBE, Member, Professor Jenny Pearce OBE, Member, Sharon Evans, Member, and Professor Alexis Jay OBE, Expert Advisor, Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

This part of the HASC hearing includes Sharon Evans’ allegations against Ben Emmerson whose statement in response can be read HERE

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HASC: Lynne Featherstone MP 20th Jan 2015

Lynne Featherstone MP, Minister of State for Crime Prevention, being questioned by Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, on 20th Jan 2015. This session was just prior to the HASC session with four members from the independent panel inquiry into child sexual abuse. It had been reported that intimidation of the panel members had occurred, and Vaz was asking the responsible minister for clarification.


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