A private prosecution will be opened today against several Public Authorities at Lincoln Magistrates Court. The prosecution will be opened by citizen petitioner Alan Dransfield, a vociferous 67 year old Freedom of Information (FOI) campaigner from Boston Lincolnshire. Dransfield will “lay an information” in the court to prosecute alleged foreseeable harms caused by knowing fraud in public authorities.
The private prosecution currently falls into four main areas:
1. The £600+ million pound overspend on The Olympic Stadium, which Dransfield claims is fraud and compromises public safety.
3. Health and Safety oversight failures in 6 private finance initiative (PFI) schools in Exeter which he claims are unsafe and not fit for purpose.
4. Abuses by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
Several Public Authorities are defendants to the private prosecution including the London Legacy Authority and Sports Ground Safety Authority with regard to the overspend. Also among Defendants are the CEO of Kensington and Chelsea Council, and Mr Carl Stokes – Fire Safety Officer for Grenfell Tower, Sadiq Khan, and the Chief Constable of London’s Metropolitan Police Ms Cressida Dick.
Mr Dransfield has single-handedly categorised oversight failures, leading to foreseeable harm, into diverse Acts of Parliament to enable their prosecution. Cited Acts include The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, The Construction Design Management Act 2007, The Fraud Act 2006, The Building Regulations Act 1984, Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety)Order 2005, The Criminal Procedure Rules 2015, The FOIA 2000 & EIRA 2004, The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985.
Dransfield’s campaigning role was cemented when he became a test case for the ICO/First Tier Tribunal/Upper Tribunal and Court of Appeal in early 2013. His original request for safety information about a bridge in Exeter was turned down by the ICO as “vexatious”. On appeal it was found to be “straight forward, politely written and in the interest of the general public and held serious purpose.”
When the bridge’s safety files turned up in 2017, they corroborated the lack of lightning protection at the time. Nevertheless by then the ICO itself, not Devon County Council, had been back to court and persuaded a judge to overturn the decision. In 2013 Judge Wikely had found there had been no serious purpose or public interest in Alan Dransfield’s information request, and that he was abusing the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
The ICO has since stuck Mr Dransfield’s name, as a vexatious label, on upwards of 6,000 information refusals. Such judgements, set against facts, demonstrate a worryingly familiar pattern of contempt for foreseeable harms randomly befalling citizens.
With this private prosecution Alan Dransfield will seek to exercise his rights to further highlight what we all know, that those with oversight are responsible for preventing foreseeable harm and in fact, that is what oversight is for.
Anyone can bring a private prosecution, and in many circumstances the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) can choose to take over an investigation, or to shut it down, at any time.
We hope the CPS will pick this up because why should a private citizen have to do it?
Dransfield’s “Laying of an Information” will be heard on 18th Dec 2017 at 2.00 pm at Lincoln Magistrates Court. We urge people in the area to attend the court and provide accurate information as to the proceedings.
Update (19-Dec-17): Dransfield was refused to lay an Information at Lincoln Magistrates Court. He is now applying for judicial review. Good luck.
Alan Dransfield, Carl Stokes, Cressida Dick, featured, Grenfell Tower, Information Commissioner's Office, Kensington and Chelsea Council, London Legacy Authority, PFI Schools, Sadiq Khan, Sports Ground Safety Authority