James Scobie QC of Garden Court Chambers delivers witness statement at Tranche 1 (Phase 2) of the Undercover Policing Inquiry on behalf of “Mary” who was spied upon by Detective Constable Richard Clark.
James Scobie QC is leading Piers Marquis of Doughty Street Chambers instructed by Paul Heron of the Public Law Centre.
"i) I was simply astounded when I found out he (Richard Clark posing as Rick Gibson) was a police officer. When I discussed this with another activist in Goldsmiths College, (she also knew Rick Gibson) certain aspects of Rick Gibson's behaviour clearly fell into place that he would have or certainly could have been an undercover officer or MI5 officer.
ii) There were a number of issues that should have been obvious to me, such as:
a) the fact that he was totally uncontactable. He would initiate contact with the activists who he was spying on, but overall 'Rick Gibson' was elusive.
b) The fact that 'Rick Gibson' had no back history of any note. He didn't have a political back history of any sort that I was aware of. He also appeared to be extremely politically naïve and also utterly new to the idea of activism.
c) For someone who wanted to support Irish self-determination he didn't seem to know much about the situation in Ireland and the role of the British state. Maybe our own humanity made allowances for his own apparent naivety.
d) Now I look back, it is clear that his sexual advances and the use of sex were a way of ingratiating his way into the group as a whole.
iii) I feel horrified that undercover policing did occur and that it carried on through the decades. I am disgusted that the police felt it appropriate to spy on people like me and others who were campaigning for better conditions for working-class people, for democracy, civil liberties and human rights. The use of sex as a strategy is appalling, and the fact that it carried on throughout the decades is wrong on many levels.
iv) I do not consider myself traumatised by what happened. I just feel embarrassed and foolish about the fact that was used and conned. The fact that I was fooled in such a way really angers me as the police had no right to do this.
v) The only solace I can take is that not only was I convinced by 'Rick Gibson' but that everybody else was fooled by him until Big Flame found out who he really was.
vi) Finally, I am anxious to establish what other personal information is held on me by the police, Special Branch and MI5. I am anxious, having read the details contained within my file that there are more entries from other officers, such as those mentioned above. I am appalled that 'Rick Gibson' is likely to have regaled to other officers and people in the Metropolitan Police of his stories whilst infiltrating both the Troops Out Movement (TOM) and broadly speaking, the International Marxist Group (IMG) itself — and no doubt his sexual 'conquests.'"
Read the full witness statement here. Please click here to find other relevant reports and transcripts relevant to the case. Watch the statement via Youtube below.
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Undercover Policing Inquiry - James Scobie QC opening statement
James Scobie QC of Garden Court Chambers leads Piers Marquis of Doughty Street Chambers, instructed by Paul Heron of Public Interest Law Centre, representing Lois Austin, Richard Chessum, 'Mary', Dave Nellist, Hannah Sell & Youth against Racism in Europe.