Letter to Ms Eileen Eggington
from David Price, Solicitors
We act for Maria Fernandes.
On 3 June The Mail on Sunday published an
article entitled "Vaz's aide's passport dossier" with
the subtitle "Mrs Vaz 'helped fraud charge banker'".
Much of the information contained in the article appears to have
come from you. The article suggests that you supplied the newspaper
with a copy of the statement that you had apparently prepared
for the Filkin Inquiry.
As you must be aware, a solicitor owes a duty of
confidence to his or her clients. Employees of a solicitor owe
a similar duty of confidence to the clients and to the solicitor
employer. This duty continues after the termination of their employment.
Where the employee or ex-employee passes the information to a
third party, such as yourself, the duty of confidence is imposed
on the third party. In other words, you owe a duty to our client
and her clients to keep confidential material supplied to you
by Mrs Gresty. You will appreciate that our client is concerned
that you have been passing such confidential information to a
national newspaper for publication. She is also concerned that
you have supplied them with material that is defamatory of her
knowing that it was their intention to republish it.
We are not at present concerned about the propriety
of you providing information to a parliamentary enquiry. However,
we would stress that providing information to a national newspaper
for publication is of a completely different order.
In the circumstances, please answer the following
1. Did you supply the Mail on Sunday with
a copy of the statement you gave to the Filkin inquiry?
2. Did you give a copy of the statement that
you took from Mrs Gresty either to her or her husband or her children?
Please state who had a copy of the statement?
3. Did the information in the Mail on Sunday
accurately reflect the information that Mrs Gresty gave you? Please
consider this in relation to the questions outlined below.
(i) That Mrs Gresty was responsible for filing
the accounting details from Mapesbury Communications.
(ii) [This paragraph not supplied to the Committee.]
(iii) That Maria Fernandes sent dozens of faxes
and made numerous telephone calls to senior Immigration Officials
to speed up the procedure.
(iv) [This paragraph not supplied to the Committee.]
Further, please provide the following details:
4. Did you approach the Mail on Sunday
or did they approach you?
5. Did you or Mrs Gresty or any agents acting
on your behalf receive any money or other benefit from the Mail
6. We note the sad circumstances in which Mrs
Gresty finds herself. You are quoted in the Mail on Sunday
as stating that Mrs Gresty will make 'a very good witness'.
If the information in the article accurately reflects information
that she provided, much of it is factually incorrect. In view
of her enduring mental health problems, please explain the basis
of your assertion.
7. In answering the Mail on Sunday's questions,
did you request anonymity for Mrs Gresty.
The article suggests that you are or have been in
possession of documentation emanating from our client's legal
practice. Please let us know whether this is the case and if so,
identify the documentation that you either have or have had.
We look forward to hearing from you within 7 days.
In the meantime our client's rights are fully reserved.
11 June 2001