Meeting with FRC solicitors, in their London office, 23/03.

For farriers to raise concerns with elected Farriers Registration Council representative Peter Baker. Anonymous postings will be deleted.
PNB
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Meeting with FRC solicitors, in their London office, 23/03.

Postby PNB » Tue Apr 11, 2006 4:52 am

All,

A meeting was held and a briefing given to all FRC members by the contracted FRC solicitors. I left feeling brainwash as the whole Summary Levels of Justice I understood was in place for registered farriers at disiplinary hearings was turned on its head and denied.

A couple of weeks have passed since, yesterday it suddenly dawned on me, WAS THIS in fact FAIR to accused farriers. We were addressed by the two advocates the same two who do / will stand in front of the disiplinary committee and PROSECUTE our fellow craftsmen, they both sold themselves well, a bit dry, well very dry actually but what else would you expect from professional advocates.

We heard about the protocols and practice of the investigating and disiplinary committees of Council. The presentation is still ringing in my ears and their documentation is daily staring me in the face. The questions I have to ask, was this a fair move, we took in the view points of the prosecuting agency alone, the way they wish to reduce the levels of evidence to the CIVIL levels, the way they declined to respond as to if this level of evidence would be only allowed on the agreement of the defence, as one outside defence Barrister had suggested. We further heard of the way the disiplinary chair will be allowed in further guillotine proceedings if he feels things are getting truncated.

We heard that the european standards of human rights were being totally observed by the current legislation, due to the fact a formal appeal process and judicial review option was allowed and in place under the registration Acts. Should we feel good about this or just suspicious about this statement, especially when the RCVS / WCF tell us something different about European Human Rights, then use what they are telling us as a reason for us to abandon the 75 / 77 Acts and consider the RCVS suggestion of joining other paraprofessionals coming within the proposed veterinary services bill.

A further question, the real crux of the matter, Is it not the case now that our prosecuting team the FRC contracted solicitors by giving this briefing directly to FRC members have enhanced their credibility in the eyes of the specific committee members, has this effectively kicked in a bias of feeling toward FRC's advocates at any future hearings?? Can the current contracted solicitors then continue to prosecute FRC disiplinary cases on level terms with the defence team??

PNB.
Last edited by PNB on Sat Apr 15, 2006 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

john ford
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Postby john ford » Wed Apr 12, 2006 7:57 pm

Peter, I can’t at this stage understand all of your posting about this meeting, but what I can understand reading your text is that you had no input what-so-ever in the proceedings. If this is the case or not, why are you telling all of us your concerns, doubts, and fears, outside a meeting that has already closed. What do you think we as farriers outside of council can do about it, even if we don’t agree with their decisions. You and the other representatives on council are the only ones who can change anything, and surely the place to do that is at the meeting, not to shout and scream afterwards to those people who have no influence. Your postings would be far more constructive if we were told the facts and decisions made, even after you or other representatives lost the vote after arguing your case.

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Postby PNB » Thu Apr 13, 2006 5:51 am

John,

Yes No Input, no debate, very limited time for questions, some others seemed just to want to conclude the presentation ASAP. John it was not "decisions" they were not judges, it was their personal observation from their point of view as contracted FRC solicitors, simply their opinion as there was no avenue open for discussion or debate.

As was said earlier the presentation was from a pretty dry pair of intentionally non controversial professional advocates, who by their very craft make presentations as though the content was written in stone with no door ajar for reasoned doubt. John the cost of the presentation was considerable, a paid for service by council, "He who pays The Piper calls the tune", Maybe?? These advocates were very good and convincing at speaking as well!! even though some of the things said were in conflict with other sources, [see above].

In hind site would it not have been fairer to all if the legal ASSESSOR had done the business and not the prosecution team.

John how would you feel if you were up on a charge before disciplinary, at you hearing your defence team were unknown to the committee, had to intally bond [unequally to the prosecuting team] with the disiplinary members and that is even before constructing any defence case?? and the committee who both set the rules, and employ the administrators who identify transgressors, construct, then bring the disciplinary case, all transacted / overseen by the same council administration. This administration who work for the council that provides the committee you are in front of, the committee that judges and sanction you actions are fully aware, known to, had been fully briefed by a familiar prosecuting team; if you knew about it you would feel a bit p-----d off no doubt.

I admit the council disiplinary and the investigation committees are fully separated, but senior employed officers of council link then play a major role in both the investigating and disiplinary camps. John I don't know about you but if I was the accused I feel it was a pretty step hill and maybe an unfair one to be looking up. "Conforming with your Human Rights??", that case was made but remains at least in my mind UNPROVEN.

What can Council Members do about it, you are right "Shout and Scream" at the next council, but as your elected representatives we need to know what YOU think in order to do the right thing!! what YOU The Working Craft want.

PNB.

john ford
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Postby john ford » Thu Apr 13, 2006 1:15 pm

Thank you Peter, you have explained the situation as to the meeting, which to my mind didn’t come over in your first post. As you were initially an observer or listener there, I can appreciate that there wasn’t anything one could do at the time. One thing I myself would be adamant about to changes in the present system of disciplinary, would be that if one is found not guilty, or there is no case to answer. All expenses of the accused including, solicitors, travelling, and loss of earnings should be paid by those who bought the case up in the first place, that being the FRC.

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Paying Expenses and Costs.

Postby PNB » Fri Apr 14, 2006 6:20 am

John,

I completely agree with you, I have taken it before council previously. The response, there is no facility within the the law to fine or meet innocent farriers defence costs.

To my way of thinking if a case BOUGHT BY COUNCIL is dismissed or the case against the farrier is found unproven, on a voulentary basis alone council should at the very least morally meet the defence costs. Further more if a case is bought by a civilian the defence costs in the event of prosecution failure should be similarly born by the complainant, as is the case in failed civil proceedings.

That actually raises a fallout from our meeting. The contracted solicitors seem to be saying that FRC disciplinary cases now are CIVIL not SUMMARY COURT MATTERS. [In answer to a specific question by myself and parried by chair of disiplinary, in the form of an observation to the FRC's prosecuting team]. In consequence of this information the whole concept of FRC bringing disiplinary cases in their name possibly needs to be viewed again. It may be that in view of the advice given at our meeting by the prosecution advocates, the possibility of a huge civil FRC financial liability now exists!! Which, morally at the very least in the event of a failure to prove a case FRC may now have to bear a burden and pay all costs. Similar risks of sanctions and costs morrally should be borne equally by both sides?? Please remember prosecution is a voulentary matter, defence due to FRC's stringent sanctions is virtually obligatory.

At the very least this may make FRC consider using a court of summary jurisdiction rather than the disiplinary committee regarding farriers inappropriate treatment of horses and farrier induced animal welfare matters. Quite interestingly where in the event of prosecution failure defence cost are always considered.

These are the types of questions our legal team need to be asked and answers obtained to.

When all is said and done the civilian party bringing any case or complaining is effectively demonstrating a wish to either financially RUIN or is attempting to get the craftsman's licence to pratice withdrawn, quite often bought against tradesmen who had previously built close bonds and been considered family friends until a third party intervention. Which is a pretty tough thing to do except in the most EXTREME OF CIRCUMSTANCES.

PNB.
Last edited by PNB on Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jenny Macintosh
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Postby Jenny Macintosh » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:14 am

[color=red]This reponse although posted by me, Jenny Macintosh, comes from James Todd AFCL - former Council member.[/color]
Peter, being as you don't sit on either committee (Disciplinary or Investigating) how can you possibly argue for fair play. You decline to push for the reinstatement of the farrier position on the Investigating Committee which has been forfeited since Hayden Price resigned. You have been told that farriers want as much peer involvement in the disciplinary process as possible yet you chose to ignore this. Why is that? When I sat on the Disciplinary Committee there was never any briefing prior to the hearing - I went into the room with an open mind to look at the facts objectively. Personally, I resent any suggestion that bias existed or exists and think that you are demonstrating your normal 'barrack room lawyer' attitude - try using plain English, Peter and sticking to what you know. You treat non farriers with contempt if they try to argue farriery with you - perhaps you should take a step back. James Todd AFCL

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Postby PNB » Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:16 pm

Jim,

Thanks for taking the time to respond, now you are on line I trust you will become a regular contributor to the debates and help us to understand from your viewpoint how such a pigs breakfast is currently in place.

Your Quote,"When I sat on the Disciplinary Committee there was never any briefing prior to the hearing - I went into the room with an open mind to look at the facts objectively".

Jim, Why are you arguing with me?? when you obviously agree that no briefing should in the interests of craftsman justice be sanctioned in general favour of either the view points of the defence or prosecution.

Your term on council's disiplinary committee did not historically demonstrate any bias from where I am sitting. However the familiarisation which took place with the prosecution advocates, an interaction between them and the council members at the recent meeting, I am suggesting would now make the case of non bias somewhat more difficult to argue.

It was wrong for the prosecution advocates to under take this briefing, any briefing should have come from contracted Council's Legal Assessors.


PNB.
Last edited by PNB on Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby PNB » Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:35 am

Jim,

To clear up one further point you raised.

The numbers of FRC members sitting on committees, [Investigating and Disciplinary] is set by Statute under Sch 1 of the Act. To my way of thinking it was in the past and would be in the future quite incorrect for council to play with these set numbers, that is without a formal amendment to the Registration Act. The act saw the need for a floating member, I am he, I am happy with that as it means I can feel easier about talking and debating with the Craft, something under the rule of law NOLAN insists upon.

However if the craft were in a near to unanimous agreement to change this situation, I would of course push for it to happen.

PNB.

Jenny Macintosh
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Postby Jenny Macintosh » Sat Apr 15, 2006 11:14 am

Reply from James Todd

Peter - I know exactly what the Act states - you are not hearing what I am saying. When Haydn resigned from the Investigating Committee (minutes 16 June 05) he was replaced by the RSPCA representative. Up to this point HISTORICALLY the elected members had been split 2 on Investigating and 2 on Disciplinary. What YOU and the current elected members should be insisting on is that the seat in question should revert to an elected farrier as had previously HISTORICALLY happened. As for unanimous Peter - of all the farriers I have spoken to not one has disagreed - what do you want a referendum?

Your problem with the legal briefing you attended seems something of nothing. Are you saying that any member of Disciplinary who is a UKHSU or Association member and has had contact with either Matthew Knight (UKHSU legal advisor) or the (Morrish and Co) NAFBAE legal representative is in a position of bias - perhaps, using your argument, the NAFBAE representative would show bias towards a NAFBAE member appearing before Disciplinary. Are you actually questioning the integrity of Committee members?

James Todd

csc
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c s c

Postby csc » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:34 pm

sorry jenny james todd is old enough to sign in for himself he doesnt need to hide behind a skirt or has you whining and naging worn him down

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Postby PNB » Sat Apr 15, 2006 6:30 pm

Jim,

NO, YOU ARE SAYING THAT, do I agree with you, NO I don't, no way, further more HISTORICAL bias is not my point.

The point I make is it was a massed meeting with nearly all FRC members, they were addressed purely by the FRC prosecuting team, that is what I am saying is wrong. The spectrum from which the various committee members are drawn and the individual contacts that each member draws from is indicative of democracy and highlights fairness. In the interests of fairness to all future accused a broard spread of representation should be made to council. The view points of both prosecuting and defence advocates should have been heard and controversial points debated between them.

Better still if the council members were simply to be TALKED AT the independent view point of a senior Barrister the FRC's contracted legal Assessor would have been more appropriate, who ideally should have been open to debate and questioning from individual members of council. I feel this would have given a far fairer overview of Disciplinary processes, procedures and protocols.

If a defence solicitor raises the issue of the committees familiarity with FRC's prosecuting advocates after this meeting at any future disiplinary hearing, How could it be defended??

Jim, I do agree with Stuart you should post in your own name.

PNB.
Last edited by PNB on Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

slowhand
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Postby slowhand » Sat Apr 15, 2006 6:40 pm

Well Jenny, CSC's popped up again with more interesting comments!

john ford
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Postby john ford » Sat Apr 15, 2006 7:27 pm

Posting by J Ford duplicated elsewhere.

PNB
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Postby PNB » Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:43 am

Jim,

Your quote below, and further more thank you, you are right I didn't understand the situation, HOW COULD I IT IS THE FIRST POSTING FROM YOU FOR SOME TIME.

The quote, "Up to this point HISTORICALLY the elected members had been split 2 on Investigating and 2 on Disciplinary. What YOU and the current elected members should be insisting on is that the seat in question should revert to an elected farrier as had previously HISTORICALLY happened".

I actually tend to agree regarding the use of elected members seats. I wasn't actually offered a primary place on investigating, yet there was mention of the additional seat [something you now tell me didn't in fact happen before with HP.] However bearing in mind my comments regarding Sch1 of the Act and the delegated numbers that can serve on the various committees, to create an additional seat would have been IMHO quite wrong as it is not catered for by The Farriers Registration Acts. The offer in hind sight was not then from my viewpoint a tenable one, that is unless one of the serving members of investigating committee was required to resign.

I am simply saying it wasn't presented to me by the chair of FRC at the AGM in the direct way you put it, I understood HP had been elected as an ADDITIONAL member of investigating committee as he was a farrier, I had no idea he was in fact replaced by the RSPCA member on the investigations committee.

I thank you once again for this valuable snippet and will request a copy of the JUNE 05 minutes to see just what is recorded.

PNB.

James Todd
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Postby James Todd » Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:38 pm

Which bit don't you understand Stuart - I signed the posting - I dictated the posting - haven't quite got the keyboard skills but ho-hum, we do our best, only to be ridiculed by the likes of someone who obviously doesn't understand. Perhaps both you and Peter should do a bit training in ways to facilitate open discussion because if this is the attitude you adopt then you won't be getting any contribution from me (however it arrives). Slowhand and Fordy, thanks for your support towards Jenny - she has helped me a lot and I appreciate it, as do lots of other farriers.
James Todd - (by the way Stuart - I have always put my FULL name to anything I have written!)

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Postby Italian stallion » Sun Apr 16, 2006 7:09 pm

James Todd you might put your name to everything you write but you are still a spineless git.

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Postby PNB » Sun Apr 16, 2006 7:26 pm

Jim,

Just so you know, The current FRC investigating Committee is made up of the following:-

S J Curtis, Farrier. Chair FRC.
H Dwyer, Farrier, President NAFBAE.
A Goddard, RSPCA officer.
S N Hewitt. Farrier. Elected
Col. Kinsella-Beven, WCF appointee.
Brig A Roach, VET [I think RAVC??].



The Disciplinary Committee is currently made up of:-

A Fox, defunct COSIRA seat. Education.
Mrs Alderton, British Equine Federation seat.
G Burton, Farrier. NAFBAE.
T Hargreaves, Farrier, Elected.
C J House Vet.
C Nixon, Defunct Scottish Industries Council seat. Education background.
J Vincent, WCF Accountant.
A Chalmers, Farrier, Elected.
D Gibson, Jockey Club Appointee.

It appears that you feel this balance is inappropriate? I ask you in view of your above observations, who do you suggest I should attempt to replace?? If you want another elected farrier on either of these committees please suggest who you wish to be removed and why, further how this could be done?? I will support your wishes!!

I am however currently happy with my role as the 16th and floating member of council, it allows me to communicate with the craft , and for the craft to respond and for me to report in the way I feel it needs.

I hope that in the future no farrier can say we didn't know about that, or who could they speak to with who would listen. If they didn't know its because they didn't ask. Hopefully in my floating role the rights for the craft to know what I have been involved in within council and why I did it will conform with the direction handed down under Nolan, which I feel will be a vast improvement over what has gone before. I have no formal right to advise anyone, I will however support whoever asks it and attempt to point them in a direction which I consider is suitable in all the circumstances, whether that be DEFRA, NAFBAE, FRC, UKHSU or simply a solicitor, WHATEVER.

Further FRC now publish meeting precis's in its bulletin, every farrier and apprentice get a copy of the NAFBAE publication, The Forge magazine, the editor attends FRC and reports proceedings bi-monthly. Between the three sources the facts will out no doubt.

PNB.


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