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BBC Frontline Scotland employees found to have been dishonest

This document, sent by Ken McQuarrie Controller of BBC Scotland, was received on the 6th May 2004 by David Whelan via his MP Nick Raynsford

David Whelan and the FBGA's responses to Mr McQuarrie's points are in red.

Schedule:- Mr David Whelan, "Secrets or Lies".

The programme was called "Secrets or Lies". This was a deliberate lexical choice to reflect the fact that the programme did not wish to take sides on the question of John Porteous's convictions, but rather to point out that questions were being raised by other Quarrier's children who had been in John Porteous's care.

This is simply a false statement by BBC Frontline Scotland. The two emails to the Scottish Prison Service (email 1email 2) confirm that the programme makers had a preconceived and predetermined agenda and it was solely in support of John Porteous.

  1. Unfortunately, the programme did not have access to the children's files at Quarrier's for the obvious reason that these files are highly confidential. However, the programme team did speak several times at length to Joe Mortimer, who was Director of Child Care at Quarriers during the period that the abuse is alleged to have taken place. Mr Mortimer assured the journalist to whom he spoke that there was nothing in the files of which Frontline was not already aware.

    Joe Mortimer broke the law in discussing the contents of confidential children's files. These files and their contents are protected in law.

  2. It was known that Irene Whelan left Quarriers a few years before David Whelan, but they were both at Quarriers at the same time for around two years. We understand that they were in touch with each other for several years after David Whelan left Quarriers, but that they had drifted apart in later years, and were not in touch at the time we interviewed Irene Whelan.

    This a lie by BBC Scotland Frontline. David Whelan originally lost touch with Irene Whelan when she was removed from Quarriers. Later they re-established contact and were in touch shortly before Irene Whelan gave her interview. We have evidence to support the fact they were in touch: letter 1letter 2.

  3. Nobody from Frontline Scotland was in court to hear the case, as the matter was brought to our attention as a possible miscarriage of justice after the verdict and sentencing of John Porteous. However, Sonya Rothwell, the producer, spoke to people who were in court including the lawyers involved. There was no transcript of the case, but the production did obtain a transcript of the Judge's summing-up. Clearly, the production team was not entitled to access to police records, nor would anyone from Strathclyde Police speak to the programme off- the record about the case. Irene Whelan told Sonya Rothwell that she was interviewed by police and that she told them categorically that she had never seen or heard of anyone being sexually abused by John Porteous while she was at Quarriers. She mentioned one incident when she was washing her face at the sink and John Porteous prodded her in the back of the head, causing her nose to bump the sink. She was upset about this and reported this to Joe Mortimer, Director of Child Care at Quarriers-but it was a one-off incident and she choose not to take it any further at the time. She described this incident in her taped interview for the BBC but we took the view that, as it was a one-off incident, was out-of-character as regards Irene Whelan's account of her experience of John Porteous and did not relate to allegations of sexual abuse, and therefore did not need to go into our time-limited programme. Another legal source who has seen Irene Whelan's precognition has confirmed that there is nothing in it to contradict her account to Frontline Scotland.

    It's a lie to claim that there is nothing in Irene Whelan's precognition that contradicts her account to Frontline Scotland. David Whelan was a witness to the police statement made by his sister and is fully aware what her statement contains.

    Irene Whelan along with other children claimed John Porteous physically abused them on numerous occasions, not only one occasion as claimed by BBC Frontline Scotland. She informed the police of these facts, as did other children.

    She also informed them about sexual abuse matters directly pertaining to John Porteous along with other matters concerning Quarriers Homes and its past management.

    She also informed them that Alan Henderson had informed her that he was aware John Porteous had previously abused children placed in his care.

  4. Neither Sonya Rothwell, the producer, nor Sam Poling, the presenter, is aware of people contacting the police to call Mr Henderson a liar after the broadcast of the programme.

    Individuals did contact the police and claim that the two brothers Michael and Alan Henderson "lied on the programme" The programme producers were informed of this very fact and given the details.

  5. Neither Sonya Rothwell nor Sam Poling is aware of abusive telephone calls being reported to the police, as the police would not speak to Frontline Scotland and no-one else brought this to the programme's attention.

    This is untrue. David Whelan informed Sonya Rothwell on the 19th March 2003 in a registered letter, before the programme was even broadcast. Other victims from the John Porteous trial reported that they had been contacted and intimidated by individuals who appeared on the programme including Porteous family members.

  6. Frontline Scotland wished to make sure that David Whelan had an opportunity to reply to the allegations being made in the programme. Sonya Rothwell followed David Whelan's instructions to contact his solicitor, Cameron Fyfe, but Mr Fyfe said that he could not speak for his client in this regard. To ensure that she got a definitive answer as to whether David Whelan wished to make a statement or even speak.

    This is a LIE! No conversation ever took place between Sonya Rothwell and Cameron Fyfe on this matter and he never said he could not speak for his client. David Whelan DID make a statement on the 19th March 2003 and stood by his allegations - BBC Frontline Scotland never used it!

    David Whelan was never informed when the programme was going out and Sonya Rothwell did not contact him and ask him any of the above. Again, this is untrue.

  7. Irene Whelan said that she was not in-touch with any other family members and could not provide Sonya Rothwell with contact details.

    This is untrue. Irene Whelan gave Sonya Rothwell David Whelan's business card this was how Ms Rothwell was able to phone him on his personal mobile phone number. Irene was in touch with family members.

  8. Sonya Rothwell says that she has neither called Mr Whelan a liar nor spoken to Mrs ----------. She sent the latter a letter in response to her complaint about the programme, which did not mention David Whelan's name. Following the broadcast of the programme, Sam Poling says that she received a number of phone calls from Mrs ----------, who was irate, upset and often verbally aggressive. Sam Poling told her on each occasion that she could not discuss who the individuals involved were and at no time used any names or gave any facts which could have led to Mrs ---------- knowing who the individuals were; Sam Poling did not confirm or deny anything, but said repeatedly that she could not discuss the identities of the individuals.

  9. Sam Poling says that she did not reveal at any point anyone's name that was involved in the programme and who had been given anonymity.

    Sam Poling did reveal the identities of those who had been given anonymity by the courts (Billy O'Hara's BBC transcripts). Sam Poling has a habit of lying as we have proved.

  10. As an organisation, the production team understands that Quarriers is keeping itself neutral in regard to all allegations of abuse of children by former staff members and have in fact recently been quoted as saying that their "sympathies had always been with the victims". Against that background, it is difficult to see that any of the people who participated in the programme had anything to gain from Quarriers by taking part in the programme - rather the reverse.

    Perhaps it is normal for a care organisation such as Quarriers to say that they will take back convicted paedophiles; that Quarriers allow their properties to be used in support of convicted paedophiles. Also that the past nepotism of jobs, housing and other benefits that those on the programme received from Quarriers Homes is acceptable and is neutral and impartial as claimed by BBC Frontline Scotland.

    Sonya Rothwell claimed Frontline spoke to people connected with Quarriers professionally.

  11. The programme did not dispute that the Church was a central part of life in Quarriers.

    On the programme they put across the view that David Whelan had not been in church and specifically the belltower and that he and other victims had not been abused. David Whelan gave a full description in court with regards to the church and the belltower and the abuse perpetrated on him.

  12. The production team do not know what is meant by the reference to the "annual report" nor what its relevance is to their programme.

    It was obvious that no proper research had been undertaken by Frontline Scotland for if it had it would have found that the following individuals who lent support to the programme were all connected through the Association, or previously worked together in Quarriers Homes, or had other connections and received benefits dished out by Quarriers Homes: Agnes Allison, Pearl Allison, Billy O'Hara, Carol Daldry, Michael and Alan Henderson, Joe Mortimer, William Dunbar, Helen Dunbar, Helen and John Porteous.

    For us it was a cover-up, which involved the intimidation of witnesses by some individuals named above!

  13. Again, the production team are not sure of the relevance of this point to their programme.

    As Ray Wyre says: its called collusion! They even plotted and schemed together at Association dinner dances.

  14. The two experts interviewed in the programme were Dr Ray Wyre, an expert witness and widely recognised expert on sex offenders, and John McCormick, a Scottish defence lawyer with much experience of historical sexual abuse cases.

    Neither Dr Wyre nor Mr McCormick talked specifically about the John Porteous case. Their role in the programme was to give general background about the issue of historical sexual abuse cases.

    It was not explained on the programme to the audience that these two so-called experts were only giving general views. They were positioned on the programme to lend weight to the Porteous case and that it was a possible miscarriage of justice. BBC Producer guidelines state that the use of experts should be balanced as two experts in the same field i.e. Law and Paedophilia may give different opinions. BBC Frontline only used one expert from each category - why?

    When did Ray Wyre start working for Quarriers insurers?

  15. Clearly, the convictions do stand against John Porteous. It will be appreciated, however, that what went before the court was an appeal, not a retrial.

    Perhaps we should explain to BBC Frontline that John Porteous has never appealed his convictions and instead used a loophole in the law to gain a reduction in sentence! Iain Wilson's article in the Herald 07/01/2004 explains this in detail.

  16. Sonya Rothwell says that, although she provided Irene Whelan with contact details on more than one occasion, Ms Whelan never got in touch, attempted to contact her by telephone or left her a telephone message.

    Sonya Rothwell is lying according to Irene Whelan's letters, which she wrote about the programme (letter 1letter 2).

  17. Sonya Rothwell sent Irene Whelan a copy of the programme following TX. But said she never heard anything from her. After the article in the Sunday Herald, Frontline Scotland also sent Irene a copy of the transcript of her interview. Again the production team say that they never had a response from her.

    Irene claims in her letters (letter 1letter 2) that she tried on numerous occasions to contact Sonya Rothwell, the programme producer, to no avail.

  18. Sam Poling confirms that Irene Whelan has never attempted to contact her and that she is aware of Sonya Rothwell's making numerous attempts to contact Irene Whelan all of which were unsuccessful.

    We say Sam Poling and Sonya Rothwell have lied repeatedly on behalf of BBC Frontline Scotland who they represented throughout the 6th May 2004 document and on the programme.

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