Haringey council has submitted another batch of documents to the
Victoria Climbie inquiry despite a summons issued last year
requiring the authority’s director to produce all relevant files,
writes David Callaghan.
Anne Bristow, Haringey’s director of social services, may now
face a prison sentence and £1,000 fine for breaching the
The 30 documents were discovered in a filing cabinet at the
North Tottenham Office, which handled Victoria’s case before her
death two years ago, by a legal team employed by Haringey to trawl
for any missing evidence.
Some of the documents contain information about the sickness
records of Carole Baptiste, who was a team manager involved in
Victoria Climbie’s case. Haringey insisted the inquiry already had
this information in other documents.
But inquiry chairperson Lord Laming said the situation was
“grave”, and that he was “absolutely furious”.
He said: “It shows a blatant and flagrant disregard to the work
of this inquiry. It is a terrible disservice to the other
interested parties. It is grossly unreasonable to counsel, to the
inquiry and its staff.”
The inquiry was suspended for an hour while the documents were
examined, and a police witness was called in place of Bristow.
A Haringey spokesperson said: “We have presented the inquiry
with 30 documents the inquiry regards as relevant today which were
discovered yesterday by our legal team in a filing cabinet in our
North Tottenham offices. As far as we can tell they do not provide
the inquiry with any new information. We believe they corroborate,
in different forms, information and evidence we have already
“We are deeply embarrassed nonetheless and troubled by why these
documents have suddenly emerged. We had previously conducted a
number of searches, and instructed all staff to produce anything
they think might be relevant to the inquiry,” he said.
“We cannot explain it at this stage,” he continued. “We are
currently conducting a full investigation. We have apologised
unreservedly to Lord Laming. We remain committed to helping the
inquiry in every way we can, which is why we have provided these
documents even at this late stage.”