Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
from Mr Bernard O'Sullivan, Dechert, Solicitors
Thank you for sending me a copy of your draft memorandum
together with the accompanying annexes.
I am afraid that although I have spent several hours
last night and this morning reviewing the papers. I have not yet
been able to do anything more than skim the documents. Nonetheless,
upon this skimmed reading, it is clear to me that the draft memorandum
contains a number of factual inaccuracies, inferences and evidence
which have not been put to Mr Robinson, and a large volume of
evidence which he has not seen, had a chance to study or comment
With the best will in the world it will simply not
be possible to give you a response by tomorrow morning at 9.00
am. There is simply too much material which needs to be assimilated
and too many facts not fully presented. In addition it is necessary
to go back to the initial source material because your draft memorandum
fails to deal at all with one of the central planks of Mr Robinson's
response to the allegation, the inherent inplausibility of Mr
Robert Maxwell making a payment to Mr Robinson just days before
making a payment of £150,000 to him from Central & Sheerwood
Plc, the interlinking of these two issues and the contrast between
their treatment i.e. one very correctly carried out in every aspect
and the other, as you allege, an illicit arrangement. There are
also several other points which I regard as very important which
are all omitted.
What we will be attempting to do is persuade you
that the conclusion you have drawn is erroneous in that it does
not, for the most part, take into account the material which Mr
Robinson relies and is drawn on incomplete evidence. This will
There is a further complicating factor I should mention.
I believe it is necessary to instruct Counsel to give me advice
in respect of this draft memorandum. As you will have gathered,
I am no longer in a position to instruct our counsel of choice
because of his Honour Judge Jeremy Roberts' elevation to the bench.
I will therefore need to instruct new counsel. There will be a
short time whilst our new counsel reads in.
Given this factor and the extensive work which needs
to be done to respond top the draft memorandum because of the
factual errors and its failure to deal with central core points
of Mr Robinson's case, I would ask until Friday 11 May 2001 in
which to respond.
It is clear, even on a skimmed read, that you have
reached conclusions without, on critical issues, taking account
of Mr Robinson's position or explaining why you disregard Mr Robinson's
As I am sure you will be appreciate, you draft memorandum
may have a considerable impact on Mr Robinson's standing. He has
given you, as you have noted, full co-operation. He, like you,
would wish that your enquiry be dealt with as soon as possible,
but only if it can be completed properly. Without wishing to be
critical it seems to us that in your desire to fit within the
timetable, you have overlooked material which is crucial to Mr
Robinson's position. It would be wrong in principle and it might
be thought to be oppressive to compound, what we would categorise
as error, by not providing Mr Robinson sufficient time in which
to give you his response. I would respectfully suggest that the
guiding principle for you should be fairness to Mr Robinson (especially
when he has co-operated so fully and the charges now made in your
draft memorandum are so grave). The guiding principle should not
be extraneous factors which are outside all of our control.
I look forward to hearing from you.
25 April 2001