Neil Gerrard, the former solicitor for ENRC, was found to have engaged in “extraordinary” and “almost unthinkable” misconduct. In contrast, three former SFO officials were engaged in “bad faith opportunism,” according to a judgment released by the High Court on May 16th, 2022. Enraged by the lack of work for his firm, Mr Gerrard released confidential information and supplied ENRC “scaremongering” counsel to the media. SFO’s former Director & Interim Director Mark Thompson routinely engaged in “conspiratorial whispers” with Mr Gerrard, under ENRC’s back, despite knowing that Mr Gerrard couldn’t be acting correctly. Two SFO agents were just as willing to provide false testimony as Mr Gerrard, who “lied regularly.” As the Attorney General’s independent assessment of the SFO, led by Sir David Calvert-Smith, finds, the High Court’s findings will have substantial ramifications for the SFO.
Findings Regarding Dechert And Mr Gerrard Were Significant.
Former Dechert “Policy Committee” member Mr Gerrard appears as a dishonest, opportunistic, and exploitative guy from the decision. While maximizing his billings just on the ENRC case, he described himself as “in rape mode”. He was described as a “volatile,” unsavory man who “could and did use terms like ‘fuckers,’ ” including to characterize his clients.
A “very untrustworthy” witness, Mr Justice Waksman judged Mr Gerrard to be “clearly lying” and “plainly lying” on the significant issues well before Court. The late appearance of text messages demonstrating that he had provided fraudulent testimony under oath took Mr Gerrard off guard during his cross-examination. He resorted to desperate claims of “global amnesia.”
Results that cast doubt on the SFO’s credibility
Judge overwhelmingly agreed with ENRC’s central claim that the SFO willfully induced Mr Gerrard’s breaches through a series of private and “conspiratorial” encounters. It was clear that three senior SFO agents (Richard Alderman, Mark Thompson, and Dick Gould), who were all convicted of perjury, lied to cover up their illegal actions.
Although they knew what Mr Gerrard said “couldn’t reasonably have been authorized by his clients,” top SFO officers fully engaged with him 15 times (in the opinion of the Judge, “again and again”). SFO’s “bad faith opportunism” in causing Mr Gerrard’s duty violations was determined by the Judge, who also found the agency willing to accept material that he should not have given them since it could be beneficial intelligence moving ahead. The SFO kept these contacts a secret from ENRC.
Steps to take next
Sir David Smith, a retired Judge and former Head of Public prosecution, is conducting an independent assessment of the SFO ordered by the Attorney General. His findings will have a considerable impact on the SFO. SFO Chief Lisa Osofsky said before the Justice Committee on March 29th, 2022 that the SFO had “fundamental flaws” in disclosing “inappropriate interactions” with third parties. According to Mr Justice Waksman’s opinion, these difficulties have been around for a long time.
Theresa Hudson, Elaine Penrose, Ed Hickman, Alex Hohl, Michael O’Donoghue, Katie Skeels, Reuben Vandercruyssen, Amy Harding, Catherine Hegarty, Alex Riposi, Isabel Orange, and Morven Macaulay were all part of the Hogan Lovells team. The team has been led by Michael Roberts, Partner and London Top of Disputes at Hogan Lovells (Associate).