Kensington and Chelsea Council threatened a resident of Grenfell Tower with criminal action after he blogged about his issues over fireplace protection.
The Grenfell Action Group (GAG) raised their fears time and again both with the council and with the agency which managed the doomed 24-storey tower block, writing an eerily prophetic put up closing year caution that simplest a “catastrophic event” would reveal the “ineptitude and incompetence” in their landlord, the KCTMO.
Instead of taking their issues seriously, the Conservative-run council replied with its personal caution letter from a solicitor, Vimal Sama, dated 25 July 2013 and addressed to Francis O’Connor, accusing him of “defamatory behavior” and “harassment.”
The letter reads: “I am suggested through the Director of Housing which you are the author of the Grenfell Action Group blog and maintainer of the internet site. I am informed which you previously posted blogs that have in standard been critical of the whole lot that takes vicinity in Lancaster West on the subject of the Kensington Academy Leisure Centre and funding on the property.”
It continues: “In your greater current postings, you’ve got made direct accusations about unfounded criminal actions. You will no doubt appreciate that if you have proof of criminal pastime this should be stated and pursued through the police.”
Written at the commands of the borough solicitor, the letter goes on: “I would additionally ask which you take away out of your weblog unfounded accusations against named individuals which can be your non-public opinion and probably be considered defamatory and additionally probably to be perceived as harassment via the people concerned.
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“I might be grateful if you may touch Vimal Sama straight away to affirm which you have removed the offending blog and that you’ll chorus from making unsubstantiated accusations of criminal behavior and private feedback approximately a character’s performance or moves even as running on or for the Estate Management Board.”
It concluded: “I stay up for receiving your co-operation and wait for receipt of your affirmation that you may eliminate your blog on or before 29 July 2013.”
The Grenfell group warned the council and the KCTMO, which manages the borough’s housing inventory, that the building of a college and gymnasium next to the estate might restrict get right of entry to for the emergency offerings, together with fire engines.
The group overlooked the danger from Kensington and Chelsea and no criminal action become taken.
Almost 4 years on, the government ought to discover themselves in the dock if any of the diverse our bodies are determined to have been in breach of fitness and protection laws over the Seventies-built tower block as police introduced a crook inquiry is below way.
Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, a barrister via career, labeled the fire “company manslaughter” and known as for arrests to be made, even though he did not name any people.
While the motive of the fire may also take time to establish, there will be questions to reply at the extent of imperative in addition to local government after it emerged former Conservative housing minister Gavin Barwell behind schedule a fire protection assessment following a deadly blaze in Camberwell in 2009 which left six humans useless, along with 3 youngsters.
It has additionally been stated that former housing minister Brandon Lewis “sat on” information and resisted making sprinklers a felony requirement because it’s “discourage constructing”.
John Halford, a public regulation professional for Bindmans solicitors, who’ve acted for the Hillsborough families, among different excessive-profile cases against public our bodies, stated there were various approaches wherein crook court cases can be delivered towards public authorities, in the event that they have been discovered culpable within the catastrophe.
He stated the Crown Prosecution Service could use health and safety law to prosecute public our bodies, as inside the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent man who became shot dead by using anti-terrorist officers at a London tube station.
“There may be some pressure on the fitness and protection executive over the destiny taking of criminal court cases against public authorities if it seems that the constructing become now not as it ought to were legally.
“If it seems that there’s kingdom duty, humans could also seek compensation under the Human Rights Act – even though that is generally not the first thing on human beings’ minds in these cases.”
Amid a developing clamor for solutions, Prime Minister Theresa May announced a complete public inquiry into the disaster as the death toll persevered to climb to 30, although it is anticipated to be ways higher as soon as the grim recovery process concludes.
Some have raised issues that a Government-led public inquiry will take area rather than inquests, which can be independent and jury-led, directed by means of the Coroner.
On behalf of the Government, Greg Hands, the new minister for London, stated: “This is an ongoing incident and all parts of the Government might be operating collectively together with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Mayor’s office.”
Under-stress council chief Mr. Paget-Brown seemed on Newsnight last night time to mention he would no longer comment on the opportunity of corporate manslaughter or different crook charges.
“I assume that’s a be counted for the inquiry, I’m no longer going to comment on any of those allegations. I think that would be the incorrect component to do,” he advised the program.
“There’s quite a few political comment on this, I recognize it, I appreciate it, but I think my task in the meanwhile is to make certain that our borough seems after people whose lives had been devastated. That’s what I’m focusing my energies on.”
The Metropolitan Police introduced they have opened a crook inquiry shortly after news broke of the total public inquiry.
Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy stated: “As the police, we investigate criminal offenses. I am now not sitting here and announcing there are crook offenses that have been committed, it truly is why you do an investigation.
“We have heard some of the theories approximately the purpose of the fire at Grenfell Tower. All of those might be very well investigated as part of the formal investigation which has already started.
“This will want to be numerous work among us and different investigating businesses to set up what has befallen and why and that is going to take a big period of time.”