Author Topic: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?  (Read 12989 times)

Offline tony from suffolk

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #75 on: January 12, 2018, 10:13:51 am »
Mike: why the f**k should I volunteer to help something I don't agree with?
Indeed, why should anyone volunteer to represent something they happen to disagree with unless they've got their own agenda to pursue?
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Offline BradW

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #76 on: January 12, 2018, 10:42:37 am »
Mike: why the f**k should I volunteer to help something I don't agree with?
Indeed, why should anyone volunteer to represent something they happen to disagree with unless they've got their own agenda to pursue?
Reading the comments appearing here, anyone would think Linda's proposed role (if indeed there ever was one) was to provide direct legal support and advice to Tim Allen for his campaign. Perhaps it was never thus, but let's not spoil a good bit of banter with truth and logic. Have you ever thought that perhaps there are wider legal issues that need attention now and again that have s*d all to do with CRoW?

Offline NewStuff

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #77 on: January 12, 2018, 02:23:24 pm »
Have you ever thought that perhaps there are wider legal issues that need attention now and again that have s*d all to do with CRoW?

You're judged on your past actions and attitude throughout life, so why would this be any different?

Do you think an employer take on someone fundamentally opposed to a significant part of the business?
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Offline BradW

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #78 on: January 12, 2018, 03:25:11 pm »
Yes it's a shame such guidance is not applied across the board, and in more circumstances. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Offline NewStuff

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #79 on: January 12, 2018, 04:44:21 pm »
What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Put on your big boy pants, grow a spine and say what you think, all this insinuation is tiresome. Who do *you* think is unsuitable for whatever it is they're doing?

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Offline alastairgott

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #80 on: January 12, 2018, 04:57:00 pm »
Who do *you* think is unsuitable for whatever it is they're doing?

*I* think he's volunteering, what do you think Newstuff?

Offline andrewmc

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #81 on: January 12, 2018, 05:00:00 pm »
One of the reasons why conservation education has relevance to the CRoW topic is that the legislation will provide statutory rights to anyone - i.e. uneducated, uncaring public - to venture into caves on tracts of access land.

Not go to pretend that the problems you state don't happen, because they do, but given that 'responsible' cavers routinely trespass on other people's land without permission (everyone who goes down Swildons goes on the land of who knows how many landowners in Priddy village), why do you think that the uneducated and uncaring would even know about CROW? Why would they only now choose to cause illegal criminal damage given all that they are being relieved from is the civil offence of trespass which it's very hard to imagine being more than a few quid at most anyway?

If we are talking about gates, given that there are only (I think) 4 gated caves on the Mendips on CROW land and all of them would almost certainly retain their gates in the event of CROW being accepted as applying to caving, name the caves you are concerned about.

Offline bones

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #82 on: January 12, 2018, 07:13:50 pm »
"One of the reasons why conservation education has relevance to the CRoW topic is that the legislation will provide statutory rights to anyone - i.e. uneducated, uncaring public - to venture into caves on tracts of access land."

This argument only has practical relevance to those caves on Access land which are currently locked and even then very little?   How many uneducated uncaring non- caving members of the public who want to go into caves in Access land are currently prevented from doing so because they believe it would be unlawful?  For that to be a factor cave access policing must be very different from that experienced by most cavers. 


Offline paul

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #83 on: January 12, 2018, 07:48:11 pm »
Global Moderator Comment This already been gone through on many other posts. Let's try and keep on the subject of this topic.
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Offline Badlad

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #84 on: January 13, 2018, 05:10:24 pm »
Reading the comments appearing here, anyone would think Linda's proposed role (if indeed there ever was one) was to provide direct legal support and advice to Tim Allen for his campaign. Perhaps it was never thus, but let's not spoil a good bit of banter with truth and logic. Have you ever thought that perhaps there are wider legal issues that need attention now and again that have s*d all to do with CRoW?

Whilst on the subject of truth, BradW (whoever you are).  From the minutes of the BCA meeting,

"Linda Wilson said there was a need to appoint a legal representative as an initial advisor in a 'gatekeeper' role - not paid but experienced enough to ask the right questions whilst discussing a possible issue in a neutral role" .... "Linda Wilson volunteered as gatekeeper but stated she is not practising or advising the council, only acting as an interface so the designated professional could give advice via Linda Wilson in a less committing way."

Also please note that this it is not 'my campaign'.  As the CRoW Liaison Officer for BCA I run a campaign on behalf of the organisation.  A campaign voted for by the membership, with actions and reports approved and scrutinised by council, not to mention perceived obstructions to that campaign removed from the constitution by huge majority.

Offline NewStuff

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #85 on: January 14, 2018, 09:46:44 am »
Let's keep the thread on topic

We have concerns, because someone with a clear conflict of interest is trying to put themselves in a position to advise on legal matters.

Now, before anyone gets their knickers in a twist - This is from a FOI request, and is public domain - Anyone can request this.



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Offline BradW

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #86 on: January 14, 2018, 10:34:00 am »
Here's something to think about. Does a personal attack on someone's integrity in this matter make the CRoW campaign efforts easier in the longer term or harder? Does demonising someone on a forum run by the person in charge of the CRoW campaign put that campaign on a good moral footing or make it look petty and childish? Go and think about that for a bit.

As for who I am, Badlad, it is not a condition of using this forum that anyone is oblidged to identify themselves, please advise the members if this ever changes.

Offline Greg Jones

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #87 on: January 14, 2018, 02:41:43 pm »
Again keeping it on topic, my understanding is that Linda's offer has been rejected by the BCA Council, so I suppose we could stop discussing this now.
I'd like to think that my, and others, emails to the BCA, and the discussion on this forum had some influence.
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Offline Jenny P

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #88 on: January 14, 2018, 03:03:30 pm »
As a point if information, NCA was consulted by the Government on cavers' views prior to 2000 and the CRoW legislation being enacted.  The then Conservation & Access Group, convenor Graham Price of CSCC, agreed unanimously in their response to the consultation documents in saying that caves should be included under the CRoW legislation and that they were mindful of the conservation issues but felt these could be dealt with satisfactorily.  The C&A Group response was agreed by the then NCA Council at its meeting (at which Graham Mullan was present), and no objection was made by anyone present.  (The minutes of both meetings are on record.)  The response was sent to the government and all of us present at those meetings, as far as I knew, expected that there would be some further consultation on details but there was no reason to suppose that there would be any problems. 

It was noted that, when the CRoW legislation came into force in Scotland in 2003, caves were included in access on CRoW land and it actually stated that this was a permitted activity.

Some time after that NCA C&A Meeting, Graham Price stood down as Convenor and Chairman and Elsie Little took over but there is no record from her of any further discussions with the government, either during the days of NCA or when she continued in post as C&A officer of BCA.  Additionally, there was a change in the NCA Legal & Insurance Officer: David Judson took over and he continued in this post with BCA.

Nothing further was heard but there was some disappointment when it became evident, once the legislation in England and Wales came into force that, while caving was not specifically a "prohibited activity", somehow it didn't seem to be accepted either.  I started looking into this and found there had been various reports (by Natural England, among others), on the working of the legislation, including one in 2009 which specifically suggested that caving should be included in the activities which were generally accepted.

I raised the question at a BCA Council meeting and Judson, BCA's L&I officer, stated that it was "BCA policy" that caving should not be included in the CRoW legislation and this was followed up by a statement from him in Descent on access to caves on CRoW land which purported to state this as BCA policy.  By now alarm bells were ringing and further investigation uncovered contacts between Linda, working with Judson, and Defra, stating in no uncertain terms that BCA policy was that caves should NOT be included.  This had been done entirely without the knowledge of BCA Council or BCA members and was in direct opposition to the policy which had been agreed by both NCA C&A Group and NCA Council in 1998.  With this in mind, I raised the matter at the BCA 2014 AGM; being told beforehand by Judson that I was wasting my time as "the policy re. caving on CRoW land" had all been agreed: BCA did not agree with it and cavers did not want it

BCA members at that AGM clearly did not agree with Judson's view of the BCA policy and began to ask further questions as to how this had come about.  BCA agreed to set up a working group, initially with me as its convenor, but without a clear statement of policy I could only start on some fact-finding about how many caves in the various regions were on CRoW access land and might be covered under the legislation.  As soon as it became clear that BCA members wished to take this further and were beginning to indicate that they did feel that caves should be included, I was delighted to hand over to Tim, who has far better contacts than I have and much more time to progress this, and have continued to back his work.

It is particularly unfortunate that the obstructive tactics of Wilson and Judson have continued behind the scenes since 1988, still claiming to be speaking for the majority of cavers and with Judson using his position as BCA L&I officer to  create confusion with Defra.  As can be seen from the email extract above, the obstruction continues yet, despite BCA members having made their views abundantly clear in two separate ballots relating to this subject: that the overwhelming majority do wish to see caves included under the legislation allowing access on CRoW land.

It is also very probable that, had the interference not taken place at the very beginning, caving would by now have been an accepted activity on CRoW land in England and Wales since the legislation came into being.  All the later acrimony and upset would have been avoided and we could have put our energies into deciding on caves which we felt warranted special protection and setting up the necessary arrangements, which already form part of the legislation as "Section 26 agreements".  In fact there are a considerable number of Section 26 agreements in force on CRoW land for various reasons relating to different activities, though only one is to do with a cave.

There are 8 caves on Mendip which are on CRoW land and with specifically controlled access; these could all have their access control arrangements continued, by agreement with all the local cavers and with the assistance of Natural England and the landowners, under Section 26 agreements.  There are a number of caves in other regions in a similar situation, where local cavers can agree to set up Section 26 agreements if it is felt that special conservation and protection measures are necessary.

It ain't rocket science - it just needs some good will and co-operation to allow us to get on and do what needs to be done.





Offline Ian Ball

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #89 on: January 14, 2018, 03:21:21 pm »
Very interesting post.

Offline royfellows

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #90 on: January 14, 2018, 04:07:09 pm »
Seconded.
A bit of an eye opener regarding the type of person.

EDIT
After a bit of thought I have copied this posting into a document for future use and saved to disk.

I often wonder whether... [comment removed]
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 08:23:21 am by MarkS, Reason: Comment of an unpleasant/personal nature removed »
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Offline mch

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #91 on: January 14, 2018, 06:18:10 pm »
I often wonder whether... [comment removed]

I don't think that you need to wonder Roy, you know the answer already! And I agree with your view on such people.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 08:23:41 am by MarkS »

Offline PeteHall

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #92 on: January 14, 2018, 07:57:16 pm »
Thanks for an insightful and informative post Jenny.

I hadn't realised quite how the whole issue had come about.

This puts the original topic of the thread well and truly into context!
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Offline shotlighter

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #93 on: January 14, 2018, 08:46:43 pm »
Seconded.
A bit of an eye opener regarding the type of person.

EDIT
After a bit of thought I have copied this posting into a document for future use and saved to disk.
I often wonder whether... [comment removed]
It may also be of questionable legality if proven.
Misrepresentation in public office is a serious offence. If this applies in this case or if it would be considered "fraudulent misrepresentation", I know not.
Perhaps a question to be put to a barrister?
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 08:24:14 am by MarkS »

Offline Greg Jones

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #94 on: January 14, 2018, 10:32:29 pm »
Thanks for the information Jenny.
I completely retract what I said earlier today.
Renegade!

Offline mch

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #95 on: January 14, 2018, 10:37:21 pm »
It may also be of questionable legality if proven.
Misrepresentation in public office is a serious offence.
Unfortunately holders of voluntary positions in organisations such as the BCA do not fall within the normally accepted definition of "public office". There is no statutory definition and the courts have been reluctant to come up with a case law definition but the CPS works on the basis that people in the following areas fall within the scope of the law - Judicial or quasi-judicial, Regulatory, Punitive, Coercive, Investigative, Representative (of the public at large), or Responsibility for public funds.

Offline Simon Wilson

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #96 on: January 15, 2018, 08:29:25 am »
In the email shown above it says, “I was the co-author of a counter-opinion, along with the BCA’s Legal and Insurance officer.”

At the time of the publication of the so-called counter-opinion, there was a deal of criticism of David Judson for his apparent abuse of his position as the Legal and Insurance Officer. Now it would appear that Linda Wilson continued to give the impression that their ‘counter-opinion’ was co-authored by David Judson in his capacity as an officer of the BCA.

Offline Greg Jones

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #97 on: January 15, 2018, 08:32:39 am »
[comment removed]

And David Judson's behaviour leaves something to be desired too by the sound of things.

« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 08:21:29 am by MarkS, Reason: Comment of an unpleasant/personal nature removed »
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Offline Ed

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #98 on: January 15, 2018, 12:11:20 pm »
[comment removed]

Seems some folk have to be very grateful that by and large the community is easy going
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 08:21:18 am by MarkS, Reason: Comment of an unpleasant/personal nature removed »

Offline braveduck

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Re: BCA legal officer - Linda Wilson? Really?
« Reply #99 on: January 15, 2018, 12:43:53 pm »
I have always considered caving as a sort of controlled anarchy  .Which has more or less worked all these years.
Events that are building this year that could change things for ever. Things can just not be brushed under the carpet
for ever more .But there are three people who who have done the majority of cavers a great miss service and really should be held to account .