After I posted a link to a story published in the Yorkshire Post for some reason Howard Knight has decided to object. What follows, is the full story of an attempt to massage the truth and to jerk this blog about, in order perhaps, to reduce our coverage for fear of legal action.
Links to three posts involved:
One can only wonder why Dr Billings, the South Yorkshire PCC decided to recruit an Assistant PCC at the end of June. He already had a staff of twenty-five in his office whose job titles suggest duplication on speed and … Continue reading
A NEW assistant has been chosen to support South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner and rebuild trust in the force. Sioned-Mair Richards has taken on the part-time role of assistant police and crime commissioner. Her main role will be to … Continue reading
The first sign of a problem came with this, the first email sent at 10:29 pm Sunday, although unread until the next day, Monday:
FOR URGENT ATTENTION
Rik Van Hegan
6 November 2016
Dear Mr Van Hegan
Re: Controversy over Yorkshire police tsar’s £31,500 appointment
I understand that you are the owner of the Rotherham Politics Website https://rotherhampolitics.wordpress.com
|Rotherham Politics | Robust scrutiny of all things …
Robust scrutiny of all things political in and around Rotherham. Speaking truth to power since 2008!
My attention has been drawn to a post on the Rotherham Politics website, at
repeating extracts from and drawing attention to an article which appeared on the Yorkshire Post website on 4th November 2016, by-lined Rob Waugh, at
I am named in this article.
The tendency of the article is to suggest that I (and Sioned-Mair Richards and Dr Alan Billings) have acted improperly. Councillor Otten is quoted as stating that these matters “stink”.
Such tendency is further confirmed in comments made in posts below this article and also in related articles on the Rotherham Politics website at
|More Labour Cronyism, as South Yorkshire PCC appoints “not …
One can only wonder why Dr Billings, the South Yorkshire PCC decided to recruit an Assistant PCC at the end of June. He already had a staff of twenty-five …
|New assistant police chief “to rebuild trust” in force …
A NEW assistant has been chosen to support South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner and rebuild trust in the force. Sioned-Mair Richards has taken …
For your information, I can confirm that I have never been contacted by either Mr Waugh, nor by Councillor Otten (who is much quoted), to establish the veracity of assertions and conclusions made in the article, nor to establish whether there are facts and context which would give an entirely different picture from that presented.
I have always followed the highest ethical standards in my public life and in my work. Just 4 years ago, the Sheffield Star (also part of the Johnston Press) was required to publish a Correction and Apology, including the following words
(Howard Knight) has a long track record of promoting high ethical standards and being intolerant of those who fail to abide by them, is insistent upon the declaration of interests and takes great care to avoid any potential conflict of interests.
to avoid action for damages and costs in respect of untruthful and defamatory statements it had published about me.
My track record remains the same, including investigating and taking appropriate action against impropriety. My consultancy work, in the UK and abroad, fundamentally depends on my reputation for integrity. Unsurprisingly, therefore, I have taken, and will always take, action to protect my reputation where I am maligned or defamed.
The Yorkshire Post article is defamatory of me. I have advised the Yorkshire Post that unless it removes the offending article and publishes a correction and apology (the words to be agreed with me), I will:
- be making a formal complaint to the Independent Press Standards Body, which I understand to be the Yorkshire Posts’ relevant regulator, and
- place the matter with my solicitor with instructions to take all appropriate steps, including action for damages and costs.
I have written separately to Councillor Otten requiring him to publish an apology (the words to be agreed with me) within 7 days to avoid action for damages and costs.
I will also take action against any other publication, including Rotherham Politics, which repeats the offending statements.
I would be grateful if you could confirm receipt of this letter and advise of the action being taken by you to remove incorrect, misleading and defamatory material about me on the Rotherham Politics’ website.
I am attaching a copy of this letter.
I look forward to your earliest response.
Howard A Knight
As I was still discussing the above email with my partner in crime, there came a knock at the door. To my surprise it was Howard Knight, clearly agitated, he shoved an envelope into my hand which contained a hard copy of his letter, the text of which is above and left saying the clock is ticking.
To say I was surprised would be an understatement! A most unusual occurrence? This guy would appear, to go in for intimidation and harassment in depth. He came over as a rather unpleasant and arrogant man, I must say.
So by now I wasn’t surprised when the second email arrived later.
Second email sent at 17:56 Monday 7th November 2016:
Dear Mr Van Hagen
Further to my e-mail and my letter, hand-delivered to you today, you may wish to note that the Yorkshire Post has now taken down the article which had appeared at
and which you still reproduce (in part) on the Rotherham Politics’ website at
Further, you may be interested to know that the Rotherham Advertiser published a Correction and Apology several weeks ago in respect of the entirely untruthful statement that is made by Caven Vines – “She was also the Chair of thr Police and Crime panel before the election when she cancelled the meeting so opposition Cllrs could not question Billings on the Drew report” – on the same page. Unfortunately for Mr Vines and yourself, there is a complete audit trail of documentation which demonstrates that exactly the opposite was the case.
I look forward to hearing about the action you are taking.
Howard A Knight
Note re facts: the Yorkshire Post has not removed their story.
I have sent Mr Knight the following response:
12 November 2016
Dear Howard Knight
Re: Your complaints
I have examined your complaints in detail.
My conclusion: this story is well founded, from publicly available sources.
I have not defamed you, therefore I do not intend to take any action.
Rik Van Hegan