In this web log I intend to let you know of some of the facts that lead to Terry's arrest, and update you with relevant info about his case as and when more facts come to light. Please feel free to leave your comments.
Motivated by nothing less than rumour Police, the National Crime Squad (NCS) supported by the Security Services (SS) mounted an Operation targeting my husband Terence Adams and myself (Ruth Adams) The object of the operation was to amass evidence relating to the alleged criminal activities of my husband. (in fact my husband has only minor convictions dating back to 1992?).The operation commenced with police watching the premises where we lived which was at the time 25, Dukes Avenue. This began in 1995 and NCS officers made video recordings of everybody that entered and left the premises. No evidence of any wrong doing was observed and so police persuaded the Home Secretary Jack Straw to authorise the deployment of covert audio devices within our home. The police informed the Home Secretary that they believed conspiratorial conversations were taking place within the premises. The first of several warrants permitting the surveillance was signed May 29, 1997 and the surveillance itself commenced 3 June 1997 and concluded 18 February 1999. I have never been told where precisely in the various rooms that the bugs were secreted, the house was on three floors, but I believe there was on each floor, one downstairs on the ground floor, one in the loft and one in the bedroom which was able to pick up conversations and noises coming from our bed and the toilet in the ‘en-suite’ bathroom. It’s purpose was none other than offensive and gratuitous, no evidence of any value was received or was likely to have been received from it, but intimate details of our private lives were monitored, recorded, transcribed and made public and monitors jested and made fun of some of our activities. Surely this kind of behaviour should play no part in any properly conducted, properly monitored and properly controlled law enforcement operation?We had no facility in law to see or test in full the evidence which was placed before the Home Secretary. We had no opportunity to show that what might have been said was untrue. This is a significant matter because the mere fact that the Home Secretary has authorised such a warrant creates a prejudice from the beginning, firstly in the attitude of any Judge hearing the case or in any jury set to try it. The Home Secretaries intervention at this level usually relates to terrorist offences and there is and never has been any suggestion that my husband has any links to terrorists. In fact the charges that we finally faced were based upon false details used to obtain mortgages for our various homes as we bought and sold property to better ourselves; declarations of income in Inland Revenue Tax returns. The authorities alleged the money used to fund our life style derived form past criminal activity and having declared himself to the tax authorities my husband was now seeking to create company structures as a technique to pay himself his own money. No actual criminal conduct was identified as being the original source of the funds save that it was accepted specifically that it was NOT from drugs. It was also specifically accepted that my husband had totally abandoned any sort of criminal activity (save for dealing with his own funds as described) in 1992 some 11 years prior to his arrest and nearly 15 years before his sentence on 9 March 2007. I should emphasise the fact that repeated applications were made for warrants, notwithstanding that the deployment of the probe had resulted in no evidence of criminal activity of the type that the SS( security service) had initially anticipated. The point I would like to make is that we must have been at that time a unique level of intrusion into our family life and it was increasingly disproportionate, as the lack of evidence of criminality of the type they expected to find became clear to the authorities.Between June 1997 and February 1999 the Security Services listened to and recorded every aspect of our domestic lives and created trigger notes that were then interrogated by police officers who then created fuller transcripts of selected conversations. The monitors at the time listened to the recordings in “real time” twenty four hours a day, seven days a week? This means that the areas of greater were deliberately chosen. The police deliberately sought to intrude into our most private moments that could have nothing to do with their investigation, to transcribe them and in some instances to joke and poke fun at us in documents which were distributed to a wide circulation and finally to leak the existence of these matters to the press. The incidents to which I refer are to acts of love making in our bedroom, TA toiletry habits rehearsed; 19/7/97 0951 mention of, our 14 year old daughter’s use of deodorant; TA passing wind; 4/7/97 from 0023 references to us making love and TA then using the toilet; 22/8/1997 0010 – 0012 further references to us making love together “Discuss rain and temperature, pillows, the time, the cat. Personal and private toiletry habits; incidents relating to our then 14 year old daughter, such as her need to use deodorant, the need for her to tidy her room and occasions when she was told off.None of those conversations justified the intrusion into our family lives and after some 21 months it was decided to stop the surveillance because it had produced no evidence of any crime (and this was agreed by the Crown in the agreed ‘basis’ of plea Which declared that my husband had not been involved in any crime since 1992) and to concentrate thereafter upon pursuing my husband for financial offences. In a civilised society, the investigation of this sort of financial crime could never justify the unprecedented and intimate level of intrusion into your private lives. In truth the authorities were bent on prosecuting us for anything having dedicated so much resources and money to the investigation and having nothing to show for it.In February 1999 we had moved from the Dukes Avenue Finchley home where the investigation was being monitored 24 hours a day and then suddenly stopped. We then moved to the House Fallowfield. Hendon Wood Lane and then there was a 4 year period of nothing happening. I have to question this, as to why it took them so long in arresting us. As even the judge had asked this at Bristol when my husband got bail “Why has it taken you so long to arrest this man” the officers said”. “We were waiting for him to commit a crime”Whilst on 30th April 2003 we were arrested at our home, Fallowfields, amongst full publicity at about 0600. We were both initially kept in custody and then released. Between that time and our eventual trial my husband was subject to the most stringent bail conditions that made him subject to effective ‘house arrest’. This meant that most of our conferences with solicitors took place at our home. It became clear that changes in the manner in which the Crown were advancing their case against us in respect for example of art works and antiques recovered from our home which were said to be stolen (and there was a count on the indictment reflecting that) changed dramatically and without apparent reason they dropped those charges completely and instead suggested that the items illustrated the proposition that we had access to greater financial resources than we had declared give the value of some of the items. This change of approach coincided with conversations, legally privileged, between ourselves and solicitors in which we identified the persons from whom we had legitimately made purchases or received gifts and were seeking statements from them. This was not the only time that we felt ourselves being watched and listened to in the house and especially when we were communicating directly or by phone to our solicitors. We were advised to have our home swept for bugs. Initially the expert noted a high frequency level outside the house but was unable to locate any device inside the premises. Further physical searches by the expert revealed a bug and battery supply powering it, within a sofa at Fallowfield, which we had recently purchased (7 months prior). The expert declared in a report that this was not a type generally available to the public and was normally used by the Security Services. The battery was of a particular specification that made it unique and highly likely to be used by government institutions. Unfortunately, although the device is available the battery has ‘disappeared’ from the solicitor’s safe custody. Given that for years it was accepted that the warranted ‘bugs’ had produced no evidence and had been removed the only possible purpose of this one was to eavesdrop legally privileged conversations between ourselves and our solicitor. This cannot be a valid legal reason and it means that the very conduct of our defence was under scrutiny by the state as it developed. We raised the matter before the Court. We asked the Crown to inquire whether the organs of state had been responsible for the installation but received no satisfactory reply only that the prosecution would not “confirm or deny” anything in relation to the bug. It was even suggested – absurdly – that we might have put it there ourselves. A moment’s thought is sufficient to dispel that hypothesis: the nature and type of device that it was not available except in a restricted circle and usually used by highly specialised organisations such as the Security Services. It just was not the kind of device that a layman could obtain. Secondly there was no possible reason in logic for us to place it there and all the authorities ever needed to say in those circumstances was that it was not them or to investigate the matter independently to see if they could detect who might have been responsible. They did none of these things which militate towards the inevitable conclusion that they were responsible and had been caught out.Later on in the proceedings my husband and I both changed our legal teams and obtained new Solicitors and Counsel. During the conduct by the new solicitors a fax sent from the solicitors offices for the Judge direct to the offices of the Crown Prosecution Service who prosecuted the matter (CPS) failed to arrive there but instead found its way directly to our fax machine at home. This was not the result of a dialling error as shown by the transmission report, which showed the correct destination number being the CPS contact fax. Our expert said that the only explanation was that the telephone lines were being intercepted. This might have meant interception on a wider basis than just to intercept calls between us and our solicitors but even restricted to that it shows that the authorities were seeking to interfere with our right to discrete and private communications with our legal representatives. It may be that the device was part of more capable equipment which was able to listen into conversations within our home. We just do not know. The matter was reported to the Surveillance Commissioners, which is supposed to be independent, but theirs is a very limited function. As far as any challenge in Court is concerned we were heavily restricted by the terms of RIPA 2000 and especially Sections 17 and 18 as to what we could say. These sections prohibit the asking of any questions which tend to suggest that there has been an interception of the public telephone system. In practical terms we were shut out from interrogating the point of abuse. The Crown adopted the same line as before and would not “confirm or deny” that there had been any interference.As well as audio surveillance we believe that there was also video surveillance within our home and perhaps even in our bedroom. The evidence of this was to be found in the transcripts created by the SS and NCS themselves and this raises a prima facie case that the prosecution and even the court had been misled by the police and that there was indeed a ‘video’/ device capable of transmitting images or film installed within the premises. There were references made by listening officers, which on the face of it, must have reflected visual surveillance: officers made several references to actions, such as Terry “shrugs”, Terry “frowns”, or “Ruth ?gestures to Tiffany the cat”, which would have had to have been seen to be described.I enclose a list of the charges we faced. In the event the case against me was not proceeded with but my husband pleaded guilty to an offence of laundering his own money, which was Count 10 (which was contrary to Section 93C(2) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 on a basis of plea which was accepted by the Crown. This was expressly not the proceeds of drug trafficking and was unspecified crime with would of included non payment of income tax and capital gains tax making inaccurate claims on Mortgage application. The main mitigating factor for my husband agreeing to a guilty plea was to save my life, as I had gone through extensive abdominal surgery due to the stress of the court case. My husband now feels that he was pushed under duress into the guilty plea by his Solicitor and QC, as he was in no frame of mind to accept this plea, He was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. He has appealed that sentence unsuccessfully which is disappointing. The Court said that the sentence was severe but not manifestly excessive and took little notice of any of the features which I have raised in this action.The affect of the proceedings and the nature of the surveillance upon my self and my daughter have been terrifying: I nearly died of a stress related ailment and my daughter and I are still in need of constant psychiatric supervision. Over and above the fact that we still shudder at the thought that we were being listened to and watched as we showered or bathed our daughter for a long time would not stay at the family home over night once she was aware of the nature of the things being said and even now when she does she showers with clothes on. Particularly offensive reference for our daughter was contained wrongly in the Crown’s Opening and in the Sentencing remarks and referred to an ‘expensive car’ which they alleged my husband had purchased for her. They knew this to be wrong and had accepted and prior to trial the defence had identified to the Crown exactly the source of monies used to purchase her own car a Mercedes vehicle, which had been accepted. That material showed that she had sold her previous car, Polo and also a Ford Fiesta, and that she had used the funds resulting from the sale towards the purchase of the Mercedes car, which she had completed by entering into a hire purchase arrangement. Our daughter has been devastated by these references which detracts from her own achievements and represents her as a spoiled brat when she is actually a hard working and conscientious girl who works several jobs. It was unfair that she was brought into this at all.My own health is still bad and I suffer regular relapses to a life threatening condition I suffered as a result of the stress created by this trial. In the late hours of Friday 13th January 2006, after arriving back from the court , I had an episode of abdominal pain which then turned severe I was eventually admitted to Barnet and Chase Farm Hospital, Herts, EN5 3DJ, and underwent an emergency abdominal laparotomy operation to remove a section of gangrenous small bowel, caused by a band adhesion. Some 5 to 6 feet of small bowel had to be removed. Years on I still continue to have bouts of abdominal pain, abdominal distension, associated nausea and bowel disturbance. I am told that these chronic abdominal conditions have no permanent cure and that each time there is additional surgical intervention, the condition is worsened, making me far more liable to further recurrent adhesions. My Doctors suggests that I am at permanent risk of further episodes of bowel obstruction, with all the consequent increased problems of having major surgery into an already scarred and damaged abdomen and that such further surgery carries life threatening risks, described by one doctor “some chance of death”. This condition is directly referable to stress.