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Unlawful behaviour and abuse of human rightsby powerful bureaucracies

Comment 9th July 2010

In Richmond a fairly low key member of staff in a social housing organisation relayed private e mails with a woman in a council housing department, one which contained slanderous and fictitious content about a tenant with no criminal history and who liked to lead a peaceful existence. This stated that in the opinion of the woman concerned the tenant was violent and had a serious mental illness. This was entirely untrue! As a result the social services were contacted,(All without any information being given about the procedure to the subject of it!), a local NHS Trust involved and a huge procedures was put secretly into place, involving a very large body of complete strangers to the subject involved. A hospital in the area was involved and also a clinic which made phone calls to try to get the name of the subject's doctor. (Refused twice!) A major NHS trust in the south west was contacted with ties with Tooting Bec (a well known mental hospital). Funny things started happening to the tenant who got wise to this clandestine procedure by powerful and unaccountable authorities and directly approached and challenged the social worker in the clinic who had made the calls. A letter from their doctor was forwarded to the landlords and the council stating that no information had been given from her patient's medical file at any time to the authorities concerned. This was ignored but by intelligent questioning of involved individuals with relation to clauses in the data protection acts and after an interview with the social worker at the clinic a memo was sent to the council from the clinic that to involve the particular individual in such a procedure was 'very inappropriate.' However this went on record on the housing file. Years later the tenant took the council housing department to court on another case and the slanderous information on the housing file was repeated by a judge who told the council.'It is wrong to mention…'s mental illness' as part of their defence.This tenant in question had no history of any mental illness, abhorred any form of violence and was suffering a new neighbour with an alcohol addiction who had attacked her, sent many hate letters and shouted hateful abuse from her balcony keeping everyone awake nearly every night for five and a half years before the landlords and the police finally evicted her. I have heard this procedure has been used by councils and housing associations against tenants before and since this case occurred. Is this right to treat a human being in this way? This cost a great deal of money with all the quangos involved but it was really a huge mistake. The housing file in question which revealed what had taken place in secret came to light in a solicitor's office. The council mysteriously 'lost' their own copy of this file.

Why does this matter?

This is trampling over the right to liberty, to choice, and to know. The abuse of power as described, to crush any human being's human rights by powerful and unaccountable authorities needs to be exposed to prevent it happening again to anyone unsuitable and unfairly. It is in truth a barbaric practise (similar to a 16th century witch hunt?) and also a waste of public money to behave like this and it is unlawful when applied to someone with no history of criminal activity, no addictions whatsoever and no history of mental illness. Please limit the power of council housing authorities to behave unlawfully and inhumanely behind closed doors and also the housing associations who behave as this one has a few years ago.

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