Former council leader Richard Farnell being assessed by police for perjury

Date published: 12 July 2018

Former leader of Rochdale Council Richard Farnell is being assessed for perjury by London Metropolitan Police after it was alleged he had lied under oath during an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) earlier this year.

Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon who acts for eight victims abused at Knowl View and Cambridge House, said: “My clients showed great courage and strength to recount the traumatic ordeals they suffered. They deserved the truth and, for Richard Farnell to lie on oath to the inquiry, was unforgivable. Perjury is a serious offence.

“After being let down so badly and for so long by the system that was supposed to protect them, these men felt that an investigation independent of GMP was the only way forward.

“We welcome the fact that the Metropolitan Police is now involved and trust that my clients will be kept appropriately updated. While we would not want this matter to be rushed, it must be treated as a priority. Victims have already waited far too long for justice.”

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police confirmed: “In early May 2018, the MPS received a referral from Greater Manchester Police, requesting that the MPS review an allegation of perjury, said to have been committed when a witness lied under oath during evidence provided to the IICSA.

“The referral was passed to the MPS Special Enquiry Team, part of Specialist Crime and Operations, who are conducting an assessment of the allegation.”

Councillor Richard Farnell said: “I told the truth to the Inquiry and there is substantial evidence to support this.

“The three most senior officers at the time responsible for informing the Leader of the Council  - the Chief Executive and the directors of education and social services - in evidence to Inquiry all said they did not inform me about Knowl View. A two year police investigation found no evidence of any cover up.

“The Inquiry’s findings must be based on facts supported by evidence. Its conclusions in respect of me were unreasonable and without any evidence to back them up.

“A 13-page report of facts proving beyond any doubt the truthfulness of my evidence was presented to the Inquiry which, bizarrely, they chose to ignore.

“I am more than happy to fully cooperate with the Metropolitan Police should they decide to take this matter further.”

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