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Discussion > FOISA Request for "Insulting/Embarrassing" Emails

Summary

In June 2012, Dr Rob Wilson of St Andrews University posted a guest posting on BH. In a comment on the same thread he stated "...some of the personal e-mails sent to me today would be rather embarrassing to some of you if I posted them on BH. So let's please keep this civil. I can accept that some/many of you are rather sceptical, but insults will not help the discourse."

My FOISA request for the emails was refused and was then refused again after my request for a review of the decision. But the Scottish Information Commissioner ruled that St Andrews University had not complied with FOISA nor with EIRs and she ruled that the information I had requested should be given to me.

Two emails were given to me, but only one of them was dated prior to Dr Wilson's comment. (You can skip to the end of this posting if you wish to read the email without reading through the details which follow.)

Background

On 25 April 2012 our host, Andrew Montford, participated in a seminar at St Andrews University entitled "The global warming debate after Climategate". It was organised and chaired by Dr Rob Wilson, who is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography and Geosciences at St Andrews University.

On 5 June 2012, as a follow-up to the seminar, Dr Wilson posted a guest posting on BH entitled: "Large-scale temperature trends".

http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/6/5/large-scale-temperature-trends.html

On 5 June 2012 at 9:17 PM, on the same BH thread, Dr Wilson posted a comment, that ended:

"Lastly, some of you are a prickly bunch and I will try and keep my responses measured. However, some of the personal e-mails sent to me today would be rather embarrassing to some of you if I posted them on BH. So let's please keep this civil. I can accept that some/many of you are rather sceptical, but insults will not help the discourse."

Several commenters suggested that the insulting/embarrassing emails should be revealed but nothing was disclosed.

FOISA Request

In view of previous instances of climate scientists having reported the reception of offensive emails which were later the subject of FOI requests, I thought that it was worth discovering what had happened here.

On 6 June 2012, I made a Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (FOISA) request to St Andrews University:

Please let me have copies of all emails received by Dr Wilson that he considers would be embarrassing to other commenters on the Bishop Hill blog. Please also let me have copies of all emails received by Dr Wilson as a result of his article which he considered were insulting.

The University rejected my request on the grounds that:

(1) It did not hold the emails for the purpose of FOISA as Dr Wilson had posted on BH "of his own volition".

(2) Data protection principles would preclude the release of the emails as this would identify the senders.

I asked St Andrews University to review their decision and I pointed out that most of the things done by a senior lecturer are done "of his own volition". I stated that I did not require information identifying the senders of the emails.

St Andrews again rejected my request, but this time gave as their reasons:

(1) They did not hold the emails for FOISA purposes and they referred to decision 050/2007 of the Scottish Information Commissioner. That decision related to angling club emails sent to someone at the Environmental Protection Agency and which were nothing to do with his job. They also gave other reasons, such the BH blog not being a website of St Andrews University.

(2) They also cited section 30(b)(ii) of the FOISA and said that "...there is a real threat that academic exploration which depends upon the exchange of viewpoints and ideas would be inhibited to the detriment of the academic process" if the emails were released and therefore they were not obliged to divulge them.

Scottish Information Commissioner

I asked the Scottish Information Commissioner to investigate the treatment of my request by St Andrews and to issue a decision.

I pointed out:

(1) Dr Wilson was clearly posting on BH as a continuation of his role as convenor of the St Andrews seminar and therefore as part of his university work. The topic was the subject of his research at St Andrews and he publishes on his research work as part of his job. He was therefore posting as an employee of St Andrews University and the emails were covered by FOISA. I pointed out that other reasons given by St Andrews University were also spurious.

(2) I pointed out it was nonsense to suggest that "the academic process" would be inhibited if a few insulting emails were revealed, with the senders' indentifying information redacted. I pointed out that the University's claim was vague. (The Commissioner has previously stated that, to use 30(b)(ii), precise details of how discussions would be harmed must be given and that vague generalisations would not do.)

Outcome

The Scottish Information Commissioner accepted my points and rejected the arguments of St Andrews University.

Her decision said:

DECISION
The Commissioner finds that the University of St Andrews (the University) failed to comply with both Part 1 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs) in responding to the information request made by Mr Axxxxx.

The Commissioner finds that by failing to identify and respond to Mr Axxxxx's information request as one seeking environmental information as defined by regulation 2(1) of the EIRs, the University breached regulations 5(1) and (2)(b) of the EIRs.

The Commissioner finds that the University incorrectly stated that it did not hold the information.

The Commissioner also finds that the University incorrectly applied the exemption in section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA to the withheld information and, in doing so, failed to comply with Part 1 (and in particular section 1(1)). Similarly, the Commissioner finds that the University was not entitled to withhold the information under any of the exceptions in the EIRs and, in doing so, breached regulation 5(1) of the EIRs.

The Commissioner therefore requires the University to provide Mr Axxxxx with the withheld information (subject to the redaction of identifying information) by 30 April 2013.


"Insulting/Embarrassing" Emails Received

In view of Dr Wilson's comment "However, some of the personal e-mails sent to me today would be rather embarrassing to some of you if I posted them on BH" I had expected to receive at least a handful of emails. However, the University of St Andrews provided me with just two emails. It seemed to me that neither of them could be considered insulting nor likely to be embarrassing to their senders if published.

According to its date, one of them was sent after 5 June 2012, when Dr Wilson posted his comment, so that left just one "insulting/embarrassing" email received by Dr Wilson at the time he posted his comment.

Here is the email with the sender's email address and name redacted by St Andrews:

From: [___ redacted___]
Sent: 05 June 2012 14:17
To: [Rob Wilson's email address]
Subject: Home Page

Dear Rob,
You write.

"I am currently funded through the European Union''

This should read

"I am currently taxpayer funded, via the European Union."

The EU has no money other than that it removes from the taxpayer.
A small point, but most important. We are your paymaster, not the EU,
and it is us you are responsible to, we the
taxpayers, not the EU.

Cheers
[___ redacted___] pedant and semanticist..

Apr 29, 2013 at 6:26 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Well, I can be a pedant as well (noted for it in some circles) and the words "some" and "a" are not interchangeable in any lingustic (or other) sense.
What comes to mind is the rather careless put-down mother to young son: "I've told you a hundred times; don't exaggerate." It seems that Dr Wilson got rather carried away and then tried to cover his embarrassment. Didn't anyone tell him that it wasn't the [Watergate] break-in that did for Nixon nor perhaps even his playing fast and loose with campaign money. It was the cover up.

Apr 29, 2013 at 7:38 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

It would be interesting to consider why Wilson posted on BH at all? Did he expect everyone to roll over and accept everything he said? I do not understand why he posted here nor why he became shirty when he got exactly the response he should have expected.

Apr 29, 2013 at 8:40 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I thought the claim of receiving insulting emails was dubious at the time.

I thought it likely it was a concocted excuse to break away from a discussion thread RW was not comfortable with, and so it would appear.

Apr 29, 2013 at 9:15 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Well done Martin, you've shown you can waste other peoples time with the best of them. But you puzzle me. You don't strike me as being of the priestly type, like Robin Guenier who is apparently incapable of recognising nastiness when he reads it. So you know for sure that your fellows on the Hill are quite capable of unpleasant comments and of sending nasty mails. And yet you persist in this childish charade of "prove it" that you like to play with public bodies. Perhaps such inane behaviour wins you brownie points from the likes of Mike Jackson, but why stoop so low?

Apr 29, 2013 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

BB seems to have several misconceptions here.

But I'd recommend that other commenters refrain from engaging with him on this thread; I think it is unlikely that he'll be able to make sense of any points made in response to his comment.

Apr 29, 2013 at 10:06 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Same as, same as.

Martin A - Thanks for putting your time into truth. And if the SIC reads here - thanks for a sound judgement.

Apr 29, 2013 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

What a good email. I'm rather embarrassed I didn't send it.

Apr 30, 2013 at 12:55 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

"some of the personal e-mails sent to me today would be rather embarrassing to some of you if I posted them on BH" and " I can accept that some/many of you are rather sceptical, but insultswill not help the discourse."

Insults? What insults?

Embarrassing emails? What embarrassing emails?

QUESTION. Is there anything climate scientists say that can be accepted at face value?

Luke 16:10 applies.

Apr 30, 2013 at 8:56 AM | Unregistered Commentermosquito

This is another example of the 'moral and intellectual poverty' of those purporting to be alarmed by the increase in airborne CO2, and their followers from various parts. Part of the make-believe for some of them is that they are heroic to be taking their stance and being exposed to nastiness from some establishment of narrow self-interest, perhaps mysteriously funded by oil or coal companies. Yet the reality seems different. The alarmed view has been adopted across swathes of various 'establishments', has a share of nasty people, and has been unmysteriously funded by narrowly-self-interested hedge-fund traders, leftwing foundations and governments, the odious UN and associated agencies, and of course the dramatically successful fund-raising through fear of such as the WWF. And the fossil-fuel funding to host-bodies of climate alarmers such as CRU is well-known.

Sadly it would seem that Dr Wilson, who has done much to commend himself to us all here, caught a little infection from the alarmist culture, and stumbled. Perhaps he has stronger antibodies now. Let us hope so.

Those of us opposed to that culture need not stand by and allow it to rubbish all others by smear and innuendo. We have seen it on this site from the commenter called 'BitBucket', and that has been well exposed and dealt with recently by Robin Guenier on Unthreaded. Well done Martin A for addressing another, albeit very much milder but not by an anonymous agitator, incident here.

Such threats can be invented, and could of course be planted - so they will remain challenging and problematic, like anonymous bomb threats are. But when it comes to public threats from other than people who could be dismissed a priori as probably unhinged (examples can be reached via http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2012/6/13/uea-death-threats-published.html ), that is from people in positions in society that lead one to presuppose some competence and integrity, they seem to be only from the alarmed ones. Prof. Parncutt's call for the execution of climate sceptics being perhaps the most recent: http://joannenova.com.au/2012/12/parncutt-death-threat-uni-of-graz-shocked-monckton-gets-it-withdrawn-with-apology-john-cook-says-nothing/. His was a serious, solemn expression of something he wanted to see. It was not some vivid figure-of-speech or rhetorical flourish of the kind we might all make use of occasionally if sufficiently provoked.

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:34 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

- Good work @Martin A, these people must be held to account. They DO CAUSE HARM , through distorting government policy so that people die from cold , and also divert huge amounts of money from more productive things.
- If only PROPER JOURNALISTS would apply such rigour ..instead of giggling like a schoolgirl in awe at "climare scientists" pushing the simplistic "we are doomed" meme

Apr 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

As I suspected there were no embarrassing emails. If you want my opinion I think that Rob Wilson came on here believing he was going to run rings round the denizens of this blog, I said at he time he had a high regard for himself. This arrogance isn't uncommon among the more juvenile climate scientists, I've witnessed it before. And, of course, the old "I've received threatening emails" meme is a way of making your detractors look like loonies without the irksome task of rebutting their arguments.

What struck me was why the University would try to assist Rob in keeping the truth from coming out? It seems all too common for universities to assist their teaching staff in keeping embarrassing, and sometimes important, information from the public.
Last thing Martin, well done, and was it sent by one of the bloggers here do you know?

Well done Martin, Rob must be hiding under a bed in Oldham with embarrassment, but he brought it on himself.

Apr 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

When you've ruffled BB's feathers, you know you've done good work (whose comment, by the way, makes absolutely no sense). He was around the last time you posted updates. Clearly, he is, or wants to behave like, someone who knows the full psychological profile of BH commenters. :)

At least, Rob Wilson, stated that he got [email]. The University is the worst: "doesn't hold the information". What a sound slap across their faces this has been.

Tomorrow, if Wilson tells us, "you deniers better pipe down. We scientists have just concluded super research that proves the earth is going to boil", we'd know what to make of it.

Go back and read the thread, now, with this email in full view:
http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/6/5/large-scale-temperature-trends.html

I still don't see what prompted Wilson to write that part of his comment. Except of course a motivation to exert control over the debate by moral recrimination.

Apr 30, 2013 at 11:37 AM | Registered Commentershub

Apr 30, 2013 at 9:34 AM John Shade

Yes, I was surprised that Rob Wilson seemed to follow the 'nasty emails' path trodden previously by other climate scientists. As has often been said, trust can be lost quickly and easily. Regaining it takes longer and is harder.

Poor BitBucket comes across as a very unhappy character, with, so far as I can see, very poor insight into other people's thought processes, yet ready at the drop of a hat to ascribe motives. Examples at Apr 29, 2013 at 9:41 PM above.

An anonymous commenter on a blog - who cares? A climate scientist and an established member of the climate science community - whether or not you can believe what they say is an important issue.

~~~

It is true that the "death threat" emails to Phil Jones seemed to be primarily from American low-life, following publicity on a website frequented by US rednecks. I did a quick analysis that suggested most were from the US, with just a couple maybe from Australia or the UK. They don't seem to have been taken as genuine threats by UEA.

Making death threats is a criminal offence taken seriously by British police. Yet no complaint seems to have been made to the police.

The UEA did not give up on exploiting the "poor Phil" meme. On 7 February 2010, the Telegraph said "...he is still receiving death threats, with two more arriving last week after the deputy information commissioner delivered his verdict". I FOI'd the UEA for these two additional "death threats" and they told me:

'Specifically, we do not hold any recorded information that identifies the two death threats "...that arrived after the information commissioner delivered his "verdict"" We certainly received abusive email directed at Prof. Jones during the relevant timeframe but we do not have any recorded information that identifies exactly what Prof. Jones was referring to in his statement quoted in the Telegraph of 7 February 2010.'

Since the "we" includes Prof. Jones himself, I concluded that the existence of these two "death threats" was problematical and, in my judgement, a fabrication.

~~~

Stewgreen - yes, they do cause harm through perpetuation of the CAGW delusion, by their support for it, explicit or tacit. In a wider sense their devaluation of Truth is a great harm they perpetrate.

Apr 30, 2013 at 11:39 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

shub - "I still don't see what prompted Wilson to write that part of his comment"

IMO inventing the "I'm under evil attack" pretext made it easier for RW to step out of the thread on the high ground rather than address comments and queries directly. Seems more than a bit pathetic given the background of his guest piece was one of posting at BH to engage in the context of building trust.

I wonder if he'll have the guts to come back with a frank apology and pick up the debate?

Apr 30, 2013 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

As I suspected there were no embarrassing emails. If you want my opinion I think that Rob Wilson came on here believing he was going to run rings round the denizens of this blog, I said at he time he had a high regard for himself. This arrogance isn't uncommon among the more juvenile climate scientists, I've witnessed it before.[snip]
Apr 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

An illustration of Wilson's high regard for himself relative to blog commenters was given by his comment on an earlier thread

I am afraid many of you sort of fell into my trap.
I purposely posted a goading statement to test the waters. I got what I expected which was a pity.
If you actually took the time to read some of my papers ...
[snip]
Apr 27, 2012 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Wilson

Apr 30, 2013 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

Martin A:

An anonymous commenter on a blog - who cares?

Hmm. I won't say anything.

The UEA did not give up on exploiting the "poor Phil" meme.

"Poor Phil" was I believe the brilliant coinage of Hilary Ostrov on Bishop Hill on 15th July 2011. As Steve McIntyre pointed out the next month, as the role of Neil Wallis in the seminal Richard Girling articles in the Sunday Times on 7th February 2010 became crystal clear, it did the job. I think the phrase deserves its own discussion before very long. And something tells me that this is no longer a small example of the syndrome, because we have been given the full backstory: one rather excellent email. Oh my.

Apr 30, 2013 at 1:59 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

+

What struck me was why the University would try to assist Rob in keeping the truth from coming out? It seems all too common for universities to assist their teaching staff in keeping embarrassing, and sometimes important, information from the public.
Last thing Martin, well done, and was it sent by one of the bloggers here do you know?

Well done Martin, Rob must be hiding under a bed in Oldham with embarrassment, but he brought it on himself.
Apr 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM geronimo

I assume that the University thought that:

1. Having a senior lecturer embarrassed in public is not good for the University.

2. Quoting "data protection"/"not in possession of the University for FOISA" would probably make the problem go away.

3. Likewise, I imagine their review thought quoting "decision 050/2007"/"section 30(b)(ii)" would probably make the problem go away.

In the end, they got the worst of both worlds: the nonexistence of the "insulting/embarrassing" emails was revealed AND the University is now on record as having breached the FOISA and EIR regulations with an Information Commissioner's judgement against them.

The University sent me the minutes of the review meeting considering my request for a review of their original decision. So far as I can see, they did not have legal advice on their position, and on the likely outcome if it went to the Commissioner. I thought it not impossible it was the first time they had conducted a review of an initial FOISA decision.

If I were the St Andrews VC, I would be displeased with all aspects of the incident.


I have no idea at all who sent the email. One commenter had posted

"Rob Wilson's home page at Edinburgh University states:
I am currently funded through the European Union on a project entitled, "Millennium - European Climate of the last Millennium. ..."

but anyone at all could have then sent the "insulting embarrassing" email to Rob Wilson.

Apr 30, 2013 at 4:02 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A
If, as you report, Rob Wilson's home page does say, "I am funded etc...." then I can see nothing either insulting nor offensive in reminding him that he is in effect funded by the taxpayer since, as the emailer says, the EU as with all governmental organisations has no money of its own but only that which it rakes in from the taxpayer in one form or other.
If that is the sum total of the "insulting" emails he has received I'm not sure quite what his beef is.

Apr 30, 2013 at 4:45 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Looks like Wilson got pissed off 'cause someone schooled him and he tried to take it out, just in passing.

Apr 30, 2013 at 5:53 PM | Registered Commentershub

Apr 30, 2013 at 4:45 PM Mike Jackson

Someone else posted that comment about his funding last June. But a quick check shows it's still there:

http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/gsd/people/rjsw/

" I am also currently funded through the European Commission to utilises (sic) non-annually resolved proxy data such as speleothem, lake sediment and ice core archives to study past climate."

http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~rjsw/

"I am currently funded through the European Union on a project entitled, "Millennium - European Climate of the last Millennium."

Apr 30, 2013 at 6:05 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

On the thread "A question of PR", BH commenter BitBucket posted the following comment. I'm re-posting it here.

BB really does seem to have a strange view of reality. He said:

No MartinA, 'curious' is, hmm perhaps I'll send him a polite email to see what's going on. You, on the other hand, go to the trouble of making and FOI request and following it for 11 months. That is nearer to harassment than curiosity, not to mention being an utter waste of the university's time and resources. And now that you have your disappointing result you draw conclusions that your sceptic antennae should tell you are weak. What if he deleted the mails, which any normal person would do? Would they still be available on a backup? Do you know what storage arrangements the uni has for emails? Do you know how hard they bothered to look for the emails (not very would be my guess)? Does he have more than one email account (he says they are personal)? You have nothing but you are prepared to condemn - now that says a lot about what is in your head.
May 1, 2013 at 9:28 PM BitBucket

BB seems to be suffering from several misconceptions here.

[1] Dr Wilson had already been politely asked to reveal what was going on by several commenters but without response.

[2] An FOI request need take virtually no time to respond to. I FOI'd some Met Office emails and a day or so later, Richard Betts posted them all here on BH. That was the end of the matter. They had nothing to hide, so they had no reason not to disclose them. I imagine that posting them on BH must have taken all of several minutes.

[3]. Under Scottish law, I was entitled to receive the emails within twenty working days of my request as St Andrews University is a Public Authority under Scottish law. BB may not like it, but that is the law of Scotland. Had the University complied with the law, the matter would have been dealt with quickly.

As confirmed by the Commissioner's Decision, St Andrews University broke the law by:
- Not giving me the information I had requested
- Incorrectly stating they did not hold the information
- Giving invalid reasons for denying me the information.

It is a very strange view that, by insisting that the University complied with the law, I was wasting its time and resources. In BB's view, insisting that someone obeys the law is equivalent to wasting their time, it seems.

A more rational view is that the University was wasting my time and resources.


[4] BB asks (rhetorically, I imagine) "What if he deleted the mails, which any normal person would do? Would they still be available on a backup? (....)".

This also shows a strange view of things. Less than 48 hours elapsed between Dr Wilson's guest posting and my FOI request. I see no reason to disagree with the Commissioner's view that the University "had identified all relevant information falling within the scope of my request". The Commissioner's Decision stated:

Information falling within the scope of the request

22. In order to ascertain whether all relevant information had been identified by the University, it was asked to provide an explanation of the searches that had been undertaken in order to locate and retrieve any emails falling within the scope of Mr Axxxxxx's request.

23. The University explained that it had focused its searches on Employee A, as it was clear to the University that Employee A was the sole holder of the information by virtue of being the only person capable of determining what comments received by him were embarrassing. The University explained that the period over which relevant emails were received was quite limited.

24. The University explained that it had asked Employee A to forward all emails that he considered embarrassing; this resulted in the retrieval of the emails under consideration in this decision.

25. In the circumstances, the Commissioner is satisfied that the University has undertaken a reasonable and proportionate search and has identified all relevant information falling within the scope of Mr Axxxxxx's request.


As I predicted previously I don't think that BB is able to take in points such as these. If he comments again, I'll be interested to see if my prediction has confirmed.

May 2, 2013 at 3:11 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin, it's worse than I thought. They didn't search anywhere, on any backups or any central spools. They just asked Dr W. Here's my synopsis:

Dr W receives emails that he finds offensive, reads and deletes them. A few days later he gets a request from the Uni to hand over the deleted emails, but clearly he cannot. The Uni is unable to comply with the FOI request. You harass them for a year and the commissioner tells them to hand over what they have got. Dr W fishes out something from his mail from the right period and that is passed on to you.

That seems a reasonable guess at the sequence events. Your guess however is that he didn't really receive any rude emails and is hence a liar. And of course your interpretation fits your preconceived ideas of Dr W perfectly - you found exactly the answer you were looking for. All good 'sceptical' readers will recognise this as a common hazard for researchers. If you believe something strongly, that is what you will find.

May 2, 2013 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

BB
Your "synopsis" may well be the correct version.
However ...
The "I've been getting insulting emails/offensive emails/death threats" ploy has been used before on more than one occasion and found to be dubious to say the least.
Nobody here is suggesting (I hope) that sceptics are in some way congenitally incapable of sending offensive emails but similarly I hope that you are not suggesting that scientists are incapable of a certain degree of "embroidery" or exaggeration when it suits their book.
If I had received offensive emails in these circumstances I would have been inclined to send copies to the blog owner with a covering email on the lines of "I come here in good faith to debate this subject with your contributors and this is what I get".
Since the contributors to Bishop Hill are not (by and large) shrinking violets I doubt we would actually have been embarrassed by the contents of the emails and I would be prepared to bet that if they were indeed as offensive as Rob Wilson suggested we would have been calling for the writer to banned from this site if it were proved that one of the regular contributors was responsible.
[One thing that seems not to have registered with you is that while Andrew has a reputation to maintain, so do those who regard this blog as a valuable forum for discussion. Which is why contributors like Dr Wilson and Dr Betts and others are welcome and mindless trolls are not.]
To continue ...
Dr Wilson had every opportunity either to release the contents of these emails or to say that he had destroyed them. He chose to do neither. On that basis there is nothing unreasonable about using the Freedom of Information legislation to establish just what was in these emails that was offensive. They were public property for reasons that have been explained.
Even then both Dr Wilson and his university could have replied to the effect that he had done what most people do with unwanted correspondence, emails or letters, and dumped them. They chose instead to defy the law and obfuscate.
Even when the Commissioner told the university to release the information they could have made the same claim but again chose not to do so, simply releasing what they claim to be the only relevant email from the relevant time.
Which sort of limits the view that people are likely to take, don't you think? If it walks like a duck ...

May 2, 2013 at 3:46 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Martin A, did Rob say he'd deleted the mails? I seem to remember you told him on line, luckily for him as he was getting deeper and deeper into the mire, so it enabled him to huff off. Then there's the mystery of why the Uni wouldn't let you have the emails, if one of its lecturers was hectored or threatened it had everything to gain by giving you the emails and SFA to lose. The only reasonable explanation is there were none, or the Uni IT people are incapable of retrieving a deleted email, which would be odd.

May 2, 2013 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo